Israel21c writes that a report by Israeli scientists outlines a new approach to treating aggressive brain tumors – bringing some hope to those who suffer from this type of cancer.
Glioblastoma is a serious and incurable brain cancer. Patients receiving this diagnosis typically have 11 to 20 months to live. One of the main difficulties in treating this cancer is that its cells quickly build up a resistance to chemotherapy.
A team headed by Prof. Rotem Karni and PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky at Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada (IMRIC) designed a molecule that inhibits glioblastoma tumor growth by regulating the proteins it produces.
Karni explained that the MKNK2 gene produces two different protein products through a process called “RNA alternative splicing.” These proteins have two opposing functions: MNK2a inhibits cancer growth, whereas MNK2b supports cancer growth.
Karni’s new molecule shifts the splicing of MKNK2 so that production of the tumor-stimulating protein decreases, while production of the tumor-suppressing protein increases. As a result, cancerous tumors decrease or die.