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22 - 09 - 2017

Brain cancers: suppressing a protein they need for their Growth

Mouse studies have shown that suppressing the neuro-neuroligin-3 protein can cause the growth of certain brain cancers to halt.


Aggressive gliomas are malignant brain tumors that include adult and child glioblastomas. Their 5-year survival rates ranges from 60% to 0% depending on the type of tumor. Many research teams are looking for ways to slow or stop the progression of these cancers.


Patient studies showed in 2015 that neuroligin-3 (NLGN3), a protein that plays a role in brain plasticity, favors the growth of aggressive gliomas.



Today the same researchers published a study in which transgenic mice lacking NLGN3 and control mice received aggressive human glioma grafts.


In mice with NLGN3 (non-transgenic) the grafted tumors rapidly developed.


In transgenic mice lacking NLGN3, regardless of the type of glioma, tumor cells did not proliferate and tumors stagnated. However, the tumors were not destroyed and in some cases they started to develop again after several months.


An NLGN3 inhibitor currently under development was tested in the control mice and the results show glioma growth markedly slowing down.


This work hints towards the improvement the medicine to fight aggressive gliomas via the inhibition of NLGN3 secretion. Research is still ongoing.