New Target for the Treatment of Neuroblastoma

Scientific researchers have found a new target for the treatment of neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is one of the most lethal childhood cancers, accounting for 15% of all childhood cancer deaths. Most patients can not get a complete cure, because the cancer has spread to the whole body often in the diagnosis.

Over the past 20 years, the treatment of children is usually accompanied by a very large side effect, which not only kills cancer cells, but also kills normal cells. Compared to most other cancers, the treatment of neuroblastoma is not specific, and the ability of patients to tolerate this treatment is limited.

Gene signature

We know that tyrosine hydroxylases can be inhibited by the drug α-methyltyrosine. This inhibition can lead to brain dopamine and norepinephrine consumption. Because of the lack of precursor L-dopamine (L-3,4-two hydroxyl phenylalanine), it can be synthesized by tyrosine hydroxylase. This drug is rarely used and can lead to depression, but it is very useful in the treatment of pheochromocytoma and anti-hypertension.

The characteristics of some subtypes of neuroblastoma cancer expression gene products are associated with aggressive tumor behavior, such as rapid growth and proliferation. Scientists have now found that Sulfatases 2 (Sulf2) are associated with high risk cancer promoting gene signature.

New research shows that reducing the amount of SULF2 in human cancer cells will dramatically reduce their ability to form tumors. SULF2 is responsible for the modification of the sulfuric acid, which appears on the cell surface and plays a key role in controlling cell function, including the promotion of cell growth and cell death.

Studies show that inhibition of this enzyme can potentially slow or prevent the growth of certain neuroblastoma cells by enzyme engineering technology.

“High risk neuroblastoma is still very difficult to treat, and we urgently need new treatments”, the researchers said, “our results may be helpful in developing new drugs for the treatment of neuroblastoma, in order to supply the existing treatment methods.”