Scientists have discovered that cancerous cells in an aggressive type of childhood brain tumour work together to infiltrate the brain, and this finding could ultimately lead to much needed new treatments, according to a new study* published in Nature Medicine today (Monday).
In the study, funded by Cancer Research UK with support from Abbie’s Army and the DIPG Collaborative, the researchers investigated a type of childhood brain tumour called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), shining a light on its most aggressive characteristic – its ability to leave the brain stem and send cancer cells to invade the rest of the brain.
DIPG is incredibly difficult to treat. Nearly all children with this type of cancer die within two years.
The researchers, led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, used donations of biopsy tissue and the brains of children who had died as a consequence of DIPG to look deep into the tumour and learn more about its cells.
They found that DIPGs are heterogenous, meaning they are made up of more than one type of cell. This enables the cells to ‘work’ together to leave the original tumour and travel into the brain. The scientists
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