Researchers have identified an interaction between proteins that could spur the development of new treatments for brain cancer. According to a study published by a team of scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University, an interaction between the proteins created by the AEG-1 and Akt2 genes has an impact on the malignancy of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common kind of brain cancer.
Members of the research team previously discovered that AEG-1 and Akt2 were overexpressed in many cancers. Their new research showed that the proteins created by those genes led to a positive feedback loop that contributed to GBM. The study was the first to identify that particular element of GBM, leading to hopes that new drugs developed to disrupt the feedback loop could become a productive part of GBM treatment strategies.
The hope hinges on the way that cells interact in the brain. Through a process called signaling, a number of cellular functions are regulated. The Akt2 gene has a particularly active role in the way that tumors spread and survive in the brain, and the study found that the proteins created by AEG-1 and Akt2 were a key element of the signaling that regulates it. By attacking the protein interaction in mice, the researchers were able to demonstrate a reduction in the survival of GBM cells.