Geneticists at a research institution in Dublin, Ireland have discovered how a gene mutation known as H3K27M causes diffuse midline glioma (DMG), which is an incurable, devastating form of childhood cancer. In these lab studies with model cell types, however, these geneticists also discovered a targeted drug that successfully reverses the effects of the mutation and slowly slows the growth of cancer cells. This landmark discovery gives a new understanding to the genetics of DMG, giving it a more therapeutic approach with hopes of better treatment in the near future. Adrian Bracken, a Professor at Trinity College School of Genetics and Microbiology, led this research, stating that the team has “taken a huge step forward in [their] study of DMG tumors and hope that the insights will help design and implement precision oncology-based treatment approaches in DMG patients in the future”. EZH2 inhibitor drugs have already received FDA approval for treatment of two types of adult cancer, so Bracken and his team propose that these drugs could be useful for kids with DMG as well. Overall, the findings of this monumental study were how the mutation H3K27M causes DMG, how to target this cancer-causing gene with a drug that slows the growth of cancer cells, and a model cell line for future targeted DMG approaches.
Link to Study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-021-00897-w