Cancer treatment has been boosted by a study which has discovered that the Stat3 gene regulates cancer stem cells in brain cancer.
Such cancer stem cells are believed to have a pivotal role in the development of tumours, and could form the focus of future cancer treatment theories.
The activity of cancer stem cells was identified when they were isolated from sections of glioblastoma tumors that had been surgically removed.
Lead author Dr Brent Cochran, professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the cellular & molecular physiology programme faculty at the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts commented on the findings.
He said: "When STAT3 is inhibited, cancer stem cells in glioblastomas lose their stem-cell characteristics permanently, suggesting that STAT3 regulates growth and self-renewal of stem cells within glioblastomas.
"Strikingly, a single, acute treatment with STAT3 inhibitors was effective, implying that a STAT3 inhibitor could stop tumor formation."
Researchers in Amsterdam have found that patients treated with radiotherapy for brain tumours are more likely to develop cognitive problems.