Romer JT, Kimura H, Magdaleno S, Sasai K, Fuller C, Baines H, Connelly M, Stewart CF, Gould S, Rubin LL, Curran T. 2004. Suppression of the Shh pathway using a small molecule inhibitor eliminates medulloblastoma in Ptc1(+/-)p53(-/-) mice. Cancer cell. 6(3):229-40. Pubmed: 15380514


Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Current treatment is associated with major long-term side effects; therefore, new nontoxic therapies, targeting specific molecular defects in this cancer, need to be developed. We use a mouse model of medulloblastoma to show that inhibition of the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) pathway provides a novel therapy for medulloblastoma. A small molecule inhibitor of the Shh pathway, HhAntag, blocked the function of Smoothened in mice with medulloblastoma. This resulted in suppression of several genes highly expressed in medulloblastoma, inhibition of cell proliferation, increase in cell death and, at the highest dose, complete eradication of tumors. Long-term treatment with HhAntag prolonged medulloblastoma-free survival. These findings support the development of Shh antagonists for the treatment of medulloblastoma.

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Lee Rubin investigates the key molecular mediators of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, with the ultimate goal of finding effective preclinical therapeutic candidates.

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