Fruit Flies may help prevent Human Brain Tumors
Brain tumors, a condition that affects millions of people every year and in some cases with devastating if not fatal consequences.
At Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore researchers have found a tumor-suppressing protein in the fly's brain, with a counterpart in mammals, that can apparently prevent brain tumors from forming.
Brain tumors are categorized as primary or secondary. Primary brain tumors start in the brain and may be either benign or malignant. About 190,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumor. Children usually have primary tumors. This is the leading cause of solid tumor deaths in children under the age 20 and is the third leading cause of cancer death in young adults ages 20-39.
The fruit fly's developing brain, stem cells called neuroblasts normally divide to create one self-renewing neuroblast and one cell that has a different fate. But neuroblast growth can sometimes spin out of control and become a brain tumor.
Follow-up experiments showed that PP2A is important for regulating Polo kinase function, and showed that these two critical brain tumor suppressors work together to control neural stem cell divisions.
This studies can help us understand not only how the brains work but also how can we prevent conditions that affect this magnificent organ and saved lives.