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Monday, 16 May 2016

Scientists claim key puzzle in brain tumor research deciphered

BENGALURU: In a study published in a recent issue of Neuro-Oncology, scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (Nimhans) claim to have unraveled some crucial aspects of this puzzle that Glioblastoma, the most common forms of brain tumour.

"The most important insight is the revelation that in Glioblastoma cells, IGFBP2 acts as a tumor promoter through a well known tumor promoting pathway, beta-catenin," Prof Paturu Kondaiah of IISc, the lead member of the study said. IGFBP2 is binding protein alike insulin.

Fluids like blood plasma surround the trillion odd cells present in the human body. IGFBP2 is one of the proteins that is present in these extracellular (outside-cell) fluids.

While the scientists point out that previous studies have shown that patients with more aggressive forms of glioblastoma had higher IGFBP2 levels in their serum, they say: "...However, the question of how IGFBP2 makes the tumor aggressive remained unanswered until now."

"On the surface of the cell, big protein molecules called "receptors" are present. Proteins like IGFBP2 bind to these receptors and bring about a change in the receptor. This change is then transmitted to the proteins present inside the cell. A signaling cascade ensues - Protein X activates Protein Y that activates Protein Z and so on," a release issued here said.

For the study, the researchers used glioblastoma cells that were constantly secreting high levels of IGFBP2 proteins to test if there is a specific receptor that IGFBP2 binds to.

"They found that higher IGFBP2 levels correlated well with high p-FAK protein levels. p- FAK is phosphorylated form of Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK), a protein that is activated following ligand binding to integrin (a protein) receptors. Thus, they concluded that in glioblastoma cells, IGFBP2 binds to integrin receptors," the release said.

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