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Italian-Canadian team find cause of incurable brain cancer

Identify proteins that spawn deadly, aggressive glioblastoma

03 February, 18:27
Italian-Canadian team find cause of incurable brain cancer (ANSA) - Milan, February 3 - Italian researchers led a Canadian-Italian effort that has identified proteins responsible for a still incurable form of brain cancer, it was announced on Monday. A team led by first author Alessandro Perin of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute of Milan discovered two proteins that trigger and grow glioblastoma, a highly malignant, fast-growing form of brain cancer that affects supportive tissue of the brain.

Glioblastoma currently cannot be stopped by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

The two proteins could become a promising new target for future therapies, because they act on a specific group of cells in which glioblastoma tumors begin, making up the first nucleus of the tumor, researchers explained.

The proteins enable regrowth of tumors in the target cells and staminal tumour cells, explaining the high rate of cancer reoccurrence after surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, researchers added.

The discovery was carried out by laboratories at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, with the collaboration of Treviso Hospital, the Naples Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute of the University of Calgary in Canada. The article was published in the online scientific journal Nature Communications.

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