A New Way to Suppress Tumor Cells

News Brief by: Edward Midthun

 

           One of the scariest moments in life can be the discovery of a tumor. Glioblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor, can especially cause fear, as patients usually survive fewer that 15 months after the diagnosis with no known treatments. However, researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new computational strategy that discovered molecules that appear to shrink the tumor, even up to half its original size. These molecules work because they are able to disrupt the OLIG2 transcription factor, which is uncontrolled in glioblastoma, leading to the rapid division in tumor cells. The molecules wedge themselves between two proteins whose binding is crucial for the tumor’s survival and growth. Once these molecules inhibit the binding, the proteins can no longer be effective transcription factors and OLIG2 can no longer bind, thus keeping the tumor cells from growing. One of these molecules in particular, called SKOG102, was able to shrink human glioblastoma tumors in mouse models by an average of 50 percent.

           Although this news is exciting and possibly life changing, according to Dr. Santosh Kesari, the study’s senior author, this molecule will not be on the market for several more years. SKOG102 must undergo many other detailed studies in order to better understand the drug and its possible toxicity. Nonetheless, these molecules are a breakthrough which could change the way we think about tumors in the future.

 

University of California - San Diego. (2015, October 30). New computational strategy finds brain tumor-shrinking molecules: Computer modeling identifies first-ever molecule to inhibit a transient cellular event that drives glioblastoma, and the molecule shrinks glioblastoma in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 2, 2015 www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151030161334.htm