Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s researchers claimed to have identified identified a molecular mechanism that is involved in the development of cancer cells from which malignant brain tumors may originate.This could offer a target for scientists seeking treatments that would kill malignant brain tumors at their source and prevent them from recurring.

The researchers said that cancer stem cells have the same multi-potent and self-renewing properties, but instead of producing healthy cells, they propagate cancer cells. Theoretically, if these “mother cells” can be destroyed, the tumor will not be able to sustain itself.

To describe, the researcher, in their study the researchers identified a subset of brain tumor stem cells that is dependent on a protein called Sonic Hedgehog and another subset that is not Hedgehog dependent. The brain tumors resulting from each subset retained the “signaling dependency” characteristics of the mother cells, and in laboratory experiments and studies in laboratory mice, pathway-specific blocking interventions prevented the brain tumor stem cells from being able to renew themselves.

Keith L. Black, M.D., chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, director of the Maxine DunitzNeurosurgical Institute , and one of the paper’s authors said,

“Understanding the mechanisms behind cancer stem cells, which may be the root and cause of cancers, may allow us to determine how these cancers start and, more importantly, how best to target them to prevent their growth and spread.”

Source: Science Daily