Childhood cancer, researchers discovered molecular mechanism responsible for medulloblastoma
A study by Sapienza University of Rome and Italian Institute of Technology has shown that mutations in a protein can lead to the development of medulloblastoma, the most common childhood brain tumour. The results of the study were published in Nature Communications.
The study was carried out by Lucia Di Marcotullio, of Sapienza University Department of Molecular Medicine, in collaboration with Paola Infante of CLNS@Sapienza, the Center for Life Nano Science of the Italian Institute of Technology-IIT. The researchers studied the molecular alterations that cause abnormal behaviour of signalling proteins involved in the growth and migration of neurons.
“This signalling, called Hedgehog (Hh) pathway”, Lucia Di Marcotullio explained, “is receiving great attention in the oncological field because, under uncontrolled conditions, it is responsible for the onset of several cancers, thus representing an important target for more effective and therefore less toxic anticancer therapies”.
The Sapienza University and CLNS@Sapienza researchers have discovered that a modification of a known tumour suppressor, the SuFu protein, activates a series of reactions that block tumour growth.
The new discovery is an important step towards the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that lead to medulloblastoma, on which the Italian researchers have been working for years, with important results already published in international journals.