Researchers at the UMH-CSIC Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante and the IMIB-Arrixaca de Murcia have discovered how glioblastoma, the most frequent and aggressive brain cancer, invades healthy tissue with little resistance, a finding that could become a 'heel of Achilles' that manages to slow the progression of this brain cancer.
The objective of the work, published in the PN PNAS magazine ’, is to deactivate the antitumor function of these cells, called pericytes, and force them to work on tumor expansion. This change in the function of pericytes, which are no longer defending cells to become “enemies”, is achieved by glioblastoma by altering one of the cellular “cleaning services”, chaperone-mediated autophagy.
And, through autophagy, the cell breaks down and destroys damaged or abnormal proteins, and chaperones are proteins that actively work in this task. The alteration by the glioblastoma of this cleaning service changes the proinflammatory defense function of the pericytes by another immunosuppressive, which favors the survival of the tumor.
Specifically, researchers have been able to verify in a mouse model that the blockage of this abnormal autophagy hinders the development of the tumor, causing defective adhesion of glioblastoma to the pericyte and, with it, the death of cancer cells, so It becomes a promising therapeutic goal.
“This work reveals a previously unknown capacity of glioblastoma to modulate chaperone-mediated autophagy (AMC) in pericytes, and thus promote tumor progression. Our results point to the AMC as a promising therapeutic goal to treat this aggressive brain cancer so far without cure, ”says Salvador Martínez, director of the Experimental Neurobiology group at the Institute of Neurosciences.