A maestro that conducts the invasiveness of glioblastoma tumors
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IMAGE: ZEB1 is able to simultaneously switch ‘on’ and ‘of’ a large number of genes in cancer cells, in this way functioning as a ‘conductor’ that coordinates a genetic program that… view more 

Credit: Visual Science Communication

Glioblastoma is the most severe form of brain cancer in adults. The aggressiveness of this cancer is largely due to its ability to invade surrounding brain tissue, making the tumor difficult to remove by surgery. Now, a research team led by Diogo Castro, from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC, Portugal), discovered a genetic programme that controls the invasiveness of this form of cancer. This research, published now in The EMBO Journal*, may open avenues for developing new therapies.

Glioblastoma is a tumor that often reappears after surgery. This is in part because its cancer cells easily blend in with normal cells, making it difficult for the surgeon to remove the tumor in its entirety. Moreover, glioblastoma contains “cancer stem cells”, which have the capacity to originate a new tumor. If a few of these cells are left behind, a new tumor begins to form.

“The invasiveness of this form of tumor is a serious issue and many researchers are trying to understand

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