DALLAS March 5, 2013 UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists report the first successful blocking of tumor development in a genetic mouse model of an incurable human cancer.
"To my knowledge, this is the first time that a mouse model of a genetically defined malignant human cancer has been generated in which the formation of the tumor from beginning to end can be monitored and in which blocking the pathway cures the mouse of the tumor," said Dr. Luis Parada, chair of the department of developmental biology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study published in Cell and online. The study's first author is Dr. Wei Mo, a postdoctoral researcher in the department.
"We showed that blocking the activity of a receptor molecule named CXCR4 in these tumors through genetic manipulation or by chemical blockade inhibited tumor development. Together, these data reveal a potential target for therapy of these uncommon but currently untreatable malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs)," Dr. Parada added.
The study is a collaboration between Dr. Parada's laboratory and that of Dr. Lu Q. Le, co-senior author of the study and assistant professor of dermatology. Dr. Le also is co-director of the adult Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis Clinic at UT Southwestern, the first such clinic in North Texas, which is part of the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. The researchers noted that co-authors at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, greatly accelerated the research effort.
MPNSTs are rare but highly aggressive tumors that are resistant to therapy and are typically fatal. The malignancies can occur sporadically or in a subset of patients with a condition called neurofibromatosis 1 (
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UT Southwestern Medical Center