New experimental treatment can stop the growth of schwannoma tumors
Two novel and orally administered drugs can not only block the growth, but also shrink the size, of a tumour type found in the nervous system, new research has shown.
The tumours, schwannomas, most frequently grow on the nerves that bring hearing and balance information into the brain. Schwannomas are the most common nerve sheath tumour, and can occur in anyone but are also linked to a hereditary condition known as Neurofibromatosis Type II (NF2).
In NF2, where the function of the protein Merlin is lost in cells, patients frequently develop not only schwannomas, but also meningioma tumours associated with the brain and spinal cord.
The treatment of both tumour types is difficult, with surgery being the current mainstay but also carrying a high risk of damage to the surrounding normal nervous system tissue.
With an urgent need for new treatments, an international team of scientists focused on the Hippo signalling pathway, which normally controls organ size in human tissues and cells, but is dysregulated in multiple types of cancer.
Using a combination of patient-donor tumour cells from surgical resections and mouse models of schwannoma, the researchers showed that after just 21 days of the drugs being administered, tumour growth can be strongly and significantly reduced.
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