Genetic Research Suggests Chemical May Feed Brain Cancer

by: cancercompass

A new study suggests a gene mutation that increases levels of a specific chemical could feed some brain cancers, reports BBC News.

This new research, published this week in Nature, may help doctors develop a diagnostic tool that detects heightened levels of the chemical. Also, researchers speculate that blocking this chemical could possibly prevent some glioma brain tumors from growing.

Many people with lower-grade gliomas carry a mutated gene that controls the production of an enzyme called IDH1. Researchers have now discovered that these mutated genes change how IDH1 works, resulting in heightened levels of a chemical called 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG) in the brain. Malignant glioma samples with mutated IDH1 levels actually had 100 times more 2HG than similar samples from patients without the mutation.

Researchers say that measuring 2HG levels may help identify patients with IDH1 mutant brain tumors. While the information is exciting, doctors say more research is necessary before any diagnostic tool can be developed.