Cincinnati Children's Blog

Experimental Therapy Halts Treatment-Resistant Brain Tumors

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s reported in the journal Cancer Cell an experimental therapy that stops deadly, treatment-resistant brain cancers called glioblastomas.

Testing the multi-step treatment in laboratory mouse models and human cancer cells, scientists found a way to use a gene therapy to shut down a gene long-implicated in the formation of high-grade gliomas, and called Olig2. The protein encoded by Olig2 is expressed in the majority of gliomas. Removing the Olig2 gene halts tumor growth, and elimination of Olig2-producing cells blocks tumor formation. It also changed the cancer cells’ makeup and sensitized them to targeted molecular therapy.

“We find that elimination of dividing Olig2-expressing cells blocks initiation and progression of glioma in animal models and that Olig2 is the molecular arbiter of genetic adaptability that makes high-grade gliomas aggressive and treatment resistant,” said Qing Richard Lu, PhD, lead investigator and scientific director of the Brain Tumor Center at Cincinnati Children’s.

Although far more research and testing are needed before potential clinical use, Lu said the study reports a proof of principle for stratified therapy in distinct subtypes of malignant gliomas. Read more on

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