Saturday March 23, 2019

Researchers Discover Enzyme Inhibitor To Treat Deadly Brain Tumours in Kids

Histone is a protein that acts like a spool for DNA, helping to package the six-feet long DNA strand into the tiny nucleus of every cell

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MRI
Brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have identified an enzyme inhibitor that may help fight the most deadly brain tumour in children.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that an inhibitor of ACVR1 enzyme slows tumour growth and increases survival in an animal model of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) — the most deadly brain tumour in children.

According to the researchers, currently, there are no approved drugs for treating DIPG.

“Our results are encouraging and suggest that it might be reasonable to test an inhibitor of this enzyme in a clinical trial,” said senior author Oren Becher, Associate Professor at Northwestern University in the US.

“Prior to that, we need to evaluate different ACVR1 inhibitors in animal models to make sure we bring the most safe and effective agent to trials with children,” Becher added.

Representation of a Brain Tumour. Flickr
Representation of a Brain Tumor. Flickr

In 2014, Becher’s lab co-discovered that ACVR1 mutations are found in approximately 25 per cent of DIPGs, leading the enzyme to be overactive.

In this study, the team demonstrated for the first time in an animal model that this enzyme mutation cooperates with a histone mutation (H3.1 K27M) found in 20 per cent of DIPGs. Together, these mutations are important in initiating tumour development.

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Histone is a protein that acts like a spool for DNA, helping to package the six-feet long DNA strand into the tiny nucleus of every cell.

“Our future work will examine why and how the ACVR1 and histone mutations work together to trigger DIPG development,” Becher noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Nose of Kids Hold Clues to Serious Lung Infections

Experts say this breaks with traditional thinking that symptoms predict whether either a virus or bacteria is causing the illness and could impact a decision of whether or not to use antibiotics

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People pass by an installation of an artificial model of lungs to illustrate the effect of air pollution outside a hospital in New Delhi, India, Nov. 5, 2018.

Tiny organisms in a child’s nose could offer clues to improving the diagnosis and treatment of severe lung infections, a new study suggests.

The study found that the composition of the microbiome — bacteria and viruses found in vast numbers in the body — was altered in the noses of children with respiratory infections, compared with his healthy peers.

This difference predicted how much time children had to spend in hospital and helped spot those likely to recover naturally, potentially reducing the need for antibiotics, said researchers from the University of Edinburgh.

“Our findings show, for the first time, the total microbial community in the respiratory tract — rather than a single virus or a bacteria — is a vital indicator of respiratory health. This could impact how doctors diagnose LRTIs and use precious antibiotics to fight infections,” said lead author Debby Bogaert, Professor at the varsity.

Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), including pneumonia and bronchiolitis, are a leading cause of death. Symptoms include, shortness of breath, weakness and fever.

Coal Miners
Former coal miner Wade Pauley, who has Black Lung disease after working 33 years underground in mines, stands for a chest x-ray at United Medical Services in Pikeville, Kentucky, U.S., May 22, 2018. (VOA)

It was found that the microbiome in the back of the nose and throat was related to that seen in the lungs, making it easier to understand and diagnose infections.

For the study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the researchers studied more than 150 children under the age of six, hospitalised with LRTI. They compared them with 300 healthy children.

Children with LRTI had a different microbiome profile — including the types and amounts of individual viral and bacterial organisms — compared with the healthy children.

Also Read- Inactive Ingredients in Medicines May Cause Allergy: Study

These profiles could identify 92 per cent of children as being healthy or ill when combined with factors like the child’s age. This was true no matter what symptoms the child had.

Experts say this breaks with traditional thinking that symptoms predict whether either a virus or bacteria is causing the illness and could impact a decision of whether or not to use antibiotics. (IANS)