Congratulations to third-year resident Dr. Hannah Goldstein. She received a prestigious research fellowship from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study a gene called PTEN-Long.
Dr. Goldstein conducted her research with mentor Dr. Jeffrey Bruce in the Bartoli Brain Tumor Lab. Dr. Goldstein’s research focused on PTEN-Long, a naturally occurring tumor suppressing gene. The gene could help fight a deadly brain tumor called glioblastoma.
The approach is a new one. As Dr. Goldstein explains, “PTEN-Long is an endogenous tumor suppressor protein.” That means it occurs naturally in the body. For unknown reasons, it is deactivated in cases of glioblastoma. “Rather than introducing a protein designed to inhibit a [cancer gene],” says Dr. Goldstein, PTEN-Long “gives tumor-suppressing function back to the cell.”
The possibility is exciting. This research could lead to a new tool in the fight against glioblastoma, a notoriously difficult cancer to treat. The tumor grows aggressively, and it can almost never be fully removed with surgery.
Dr. Goldstein presented her results at the NINDS research workshop in Bethesda, MD, in June 2015. The title of her poster was “PTEN-Long: The Use of a Tumor Suppressor in the Treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme.” (For a full list of authors, see below.)
The results of Dr. Goldstein’s research are promising. But there’s more work to be done before the approach is ready for use. Coming research will focus on the best ways to deliver PTEN-Long to the exact places where it can do the most good.
If PTEN-Long becomes a treatment, it will not only provide a new method for fighting glioblastoma, it will also help researchers seek other potential glioma treatments. “Using naturally occurring tumor suppressors as part of the treatment paradigm for glioblastoma has far-reaching implications,” says Dr. Goldstein.
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