Researchers have now been able to find a way of decreasing pediatric bone cancer by blocking a particular signaling pathway.
The pre clinical studies carried out on mice by the researchers of the University of Texas, MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, Houston showed that the blocked Notch pathways help in limiting the metastases of the lung by fifteen times. The results of the research were presented verbally at the 42nd Congress of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology, last Sunday.
The results further revealed that the metastases of osteosarcoma, the commonest type of bone cancer in young children, can actually be controlled by tweaking the Notch pathway and the Hes1 gene.
Almost 400 children and teenagers below 20 years of age are diagnosed with osteosarcoma every year and most of them already have metastases formed before being diagnosed. The cancer usually spreads to the lungs which is the predominant reason for at least 35% of the pediatric patients dying due to bone cancer.
Dennis Hughes, the leader of the research team and assistant professor associated with MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital said that the results from blocking the Notch in mice have indeed been encouraging making them interested in finding out more about the process of metastasis. He hopes that this will enable them to discover additional therapies for preventing the spread of cancer.
The prognosis of the patient can also depend on the expression of Hes1 genes. He conducted a small study wherein he found that 39% of the patients with higher expression levels of Hes1 survived for a decade whereas the percentage was much higher constituting almost 60% for
patients with a lower level.
The research results also show that the HDAC inhibitors increase the Notch pathway in osteosarcoma cells with low Hes1 expression. For cells with high Hes1 expression and
maximized Notch, HDAC inhibitors cause death.
Source: Public Release By University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center on 25th October 2010.