Brain tumors are the leading cause of non-accidental child death in Canada. Little is known how when or why these tumors form. Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have recently identified the cells that are thought to give rise to certain brain tumors in children and discovered that these cells first appeared in the embryonic stage of a mammal’s development. The findings were recently published in Nature. They could provide a pathway to discovery of better treatments to attack the tumors.
Complex Heterogeneity (variety of cells within each tumor) has slowed the progress of the development of brain. Using mouse models that team investigated various types of normal brain cells and how they developed at various timepoints to appear. The team mapped the lineages of over 30 types of cells and identified normal cells that would later transform into cancerous cells—also known as cells of origin.