The human brain is able to change the anatomy and function of individual cells or whole areas of the brain to adapt to new requirements. However, one particular gene that is involved in this amazing transformation process can also cause disaster. A team of FAU researchers led by PD Dr. Nicolai Savaskan has discovered that this specific gene also controls the growth of malignant brain tumours.
The gene is called PRG3 and is most active in the brain during early years, influencing brain development and humans’ ability to learn. FAU neuroscientists have now shown that this gene is over-active or does not work at all in malignant tumours known as gliomas. Furthermore, when the researchers returned PRG3 activity to normal levels they were able to slow down the rapid spread that is typical of gliomas and reduce their malignancy.
‘However, our findings do not give us reason to hope for a new form of treatment yet,’ Dr. Savaskan explains. ‘It is clear that simply bringing the PRG3 gene back under control is not enough. The cell activity appears to depend on several finely balanced factors. Our task now is to break these down and research them further,’
The researchers recently published their findings online in the journal Oncotarget.
Information for the press:
PD Dr. Nicolai Savaskan
Phone: +49 9131 8544430