Tuesday January 28, 2020

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

Quality of Food Plays Key Role in Deciding Kids’ Behaviour: Study

Poor gut bacteria may turn your kid into a problem child

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Kids behviour
Parents, it is time to check the quality of their food as microbiome in the gut plays a key role in deciding kids' behaviour. Pixabay

Parents, according to a latest health news if your kids throw attitude and do not listen to you despite repeated warnings at home, it is time to check the quality of their food as microbiome in the gut plays a key role in deciding kids’ behaviour, a novel study has found.

The study of early school-aged children (in the age group of 5-7) showed a connection between the bacteria in their gut and their behaviour, said researchers, adding that parents play a key role in their kids’ microbiome beyond the food they provide.

“Childhood is a formative period of behavioural and biological development that can be modified, for better or worse, by caregivers and the environments they help determine,” said microbiology and statistics researcher Tom Sharpton Oregon State University.

The gut microbiota features more than 10 trillion microbial cells from about 1,000 different bacterial species.

Kids behviour
The study of early school-aged children (in the age group of 5-7) showed a connection between the bacteria in their gut and their behaviour. Pixabay

The researchers, which included scientists from Stanford University and University of Manitoba, surveyed the gut microbiomes of 40 school-aged children.

The scientists collected stool from the children and parents filled out questionnaires on socioeconomic risk, behavioural dysregulation, caregiver behavior, demography, gut-related history (like antibiotic use) and a week-long diet journal.

They used a technique known as shotgun metagenomics to apply whole-genome sequencing to all of the organisms found in the subjects’ stool.

The technique gives insight into which microbes live in the gut and their functions.

“One of the novel associations we found was between Type VI secretion systems and behaviour,” said Keaton Stagaman of the OSU College of Science.

The findings, published in the journal mBio, are important because microbiome can shed light on which children are heading toward mental health challenges.

“Future studies will hopefully show whether these secretion systems have direct or indirect effects on the gut-brain axis and which organisms carry these systems,” Sharpton said.

Also Read- India Registers an Uptick in Diabetes and Thyroid: Report

The gut-brain axis, the reciprocal communication between the enteric nervous system and mood or behaviour, is a rapidly growing and exciting body of research.

The researchers said that future work should also take a close look at the impacts of diet on the microbiome and behaviour. (IANS)