Deadly brain cancer genes iden­ti­fied

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY - STAFF RE­PORTER

RE­SEARCHERS in­ves­ti­gat­ing a se­vere type of brain cancer - glioblas­toma mul tiform - have iden­ti­fied eight genes that pre­dict how long a pa­tient will sur­vive fol­low­ing di­ag­no­sis. The genes, which are linked to the im­mune sys­tem, could help clin­i­cians de­ter­mine the best course of treat­ment in the fu­ture. Gliomas are a type of tu­mour that starts in the glial cells of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem (brain and spinal cord). Glia are the sup­port cells of the ner­vous sys­tem, pro­vid­ing phys­i­cal sup­port and in­su­la­tion to neu­rons.

Glioblas­toma mul­ti­form, also known as grade 4 as­tro­cy­toma, is the most com­mon and ag­gres­sive form of glioma. For this sub­type of cancer, patients rarely sur­vive much longer than a year from di­ag­no­sis. Even when surgery, ra­di­a­tion, and chemo­ther­apy are used, prog­no­sis is poor. Glioblas­toma mul­ti­form does not re­spond well to cur­rent treat­ments. There are a num­ber of rea­sons for this re­sis­tance to in­ter­ven­tions, these in­clude the difficulty of get­ting drugs to the tu­mor site due to dis­rupted blood sup­ply and a build up of fluid in the area.

The tu­mours as­so­ci­ated with glioblas­toma mul­ti­form grow par­tic­u­larly quickly and mi­grate eas­ily into neigh­bour­ing sec­tions of brain tis­sue. Be­cause of the tu­mour’s po­si­tion in the brain, even when surgery is per­formed, it is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to re­move all of the can­cer­ous tis­sue, mak­ing re­lapse in­evitable. This cancer type ac­counts for more than half of all brain tu­mors and af­fects an es­ti­mated 2-3 peo­ple per 100,000. A team of sci­en­tists from the First Hospi­tal of China Med­i­cal Univer­sity in Shenyang, China, re­cently em­barked on re­search in­ves­ti­gat­ing the role of ge­net­ics and im­mu­nity on the sur­vival rates of this per­ni­cious cancer vari­ant.

In other can­cers, drugs have been de­signed that im­prove the im­mune sys­tem’s abil­ity to at­tack the cancer. The treat­ments ef­fec­tively “take the brakes off” the im­mune sys­tem. How­ever, to date, this has not been pos­si­ble in gliomas. In the cur­rent study, the re­searchers, headed up by Dr. An­hua Wu, looked at tis­sue sam­ples from 297 peo­ple with brain tu­mours. Of these, 127 peo­ple had glioblas­toma and the oth­ers had less ag­gres­sive forms of glioma.

In all, the team an­a­lysed 322 genes in­volved in the im­mune sys­tem. Af­ter ex­ten­sive screening, eight spe­cific genes were iden­ti­fied as play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant role in glioblas­toma mul­ti­form. Three of the eight genes were shown to have a pro­tec­tive role, while the other five in­creased the risk of ear­lier death. The re­searchers were able to con­struct a genetic sig­na­ture that pre­dicted the sur­vival times of the patients and di­vide them into low- and high-risk groups. Even af­ter con­trol­ling for fac­tors such as treat­ment type, those in the high-risk genetic group were twice as likely to have a shorter sur­vival time than those in the low-risk group. The high-risk group sur­vived an av­er­age of 348 days af­ter di­ag­no­sis, the low-risk group sur­vived an av­er­age of 493 days. photo by Syed Rizwan shortly af­ter Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoUs) is signed with DHA Karachi and CPLC. This, she ob­served dur­ing visit to the Po­lice Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter es­tab­lished in DHA which ini­tially will cover the en­tire Dis­trict South, says a state­ment on Satur­day.

Maq­sood Ahmed Com­man­dant Spe­cial Se­cu­rity Unit briefed in de­tail about the ef­forts and the fa­cil­i­ties to be made avail­able for the gen­eral pub­lic. She said that the ef­forts to es­tab­lish PFC KARACHI—Aseefa Bhutto Zar­dari ac­com­pa­nied by Bakheet Ateeq Al Rao­maithi Act­ing Coun­sul Gen­eral of the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE) vis­ited the Po­lice Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Centre (PFC) and ap­pre­ci­ated the ef­forts for es­tab­lish­ing PFC in Karachi where pub­lic griev­ances will be re­solved through one win­dow oper­a­tion.

The PFC will be opened for pub­lic on mod­ern lines is a re­mark­able step which will help fa­cil­i­tate com­mon man in re­solv­ing their is­sues re­lat­ing to Po­lice and other de­part­ments.

She em­pha­sized the need for early open­ing of other Po­lice Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Cen­ters in the city and hoped that all the strate­gic and ad­min­is­tra­tive part­ners would ex­tend their max­i­mum co­op­er­a­tion to re­solve the pub­lic griev­ances.

Aseefa Bhutto Zar­dari opined that the Po­lice Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter will play piv­otal role to help pro­vide re­lief to com­mon man and present a bet­ter im­age of po­lice.

She also ap­pre­ci­ated the role played by Spe­cial Se­cu­rity Unit and its staff, who have played a ma­jor role in the es­tab­lish­ment of PFC. The PFC shall be manned by the staff of SSU. Ad­di­tional In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Karachi Mush­taq Me­har and other se­nior of­fi­cers were also present on the oc­ca­sion.

Ms Aseefa Bhutto Zar­dari ac­com­pa­nied by Bakheet Ateeq Al Rao­maithi act­ing Con­sul Gen­eral of United Arab Emi­rates vis­ited Po­lice Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Centre DHA. Maq­sood Ahmed Com­man­dant Spe­cial Se­cu­rity Unit brief­ing about avail­able fa­cil­i­ties at PFC for re­solv­ing pub­lic griev­ances through one win­dow oper­a­tion.—PO

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