|The Future of Medicine Through Bioengineering - Ayden Jacob|
90% of brain tumors do not originate in the brain. Cancer cells from other organs break away from their host tumors and find a new home in the brain. Yet, how is that breast cancer cells flourish in a new habitat, the brain? Rahul Jandial, a neurosurgeon at the City of Hope Cancer Center, took breast cancer cells found in the brains of several female patients and experimented on them in the lab. To his surprise, these breast cancer cells showed the ability to disguise themselves within the brain as neurons. Specifically, these cells were able to express receptors and transporter proteins for GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain used by neurons for energy. This new machinery was not found in breast cancer cells that did not spread to the brain. Understanding this neuronal disguise of breast cancer cells invading the brain may pave the way for new forms of targeted therapies in brain cancer treatment.