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A New ‘Eye’ on NF1 Malignancies

By November 11, 2009December 4th, 2023Awareness

A paper published this week by a Cincinnati-based NF research group in the journal Oncogene* implicates a gene called Eyes Absent (EYA) in causing benign plexiform tumors to transform into malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) in individuals with NF1. The EYA gene was found to be elevated more than 100 fold in MPNST cells, and treating these cells with short hairpin RNA to quiet EYA resulted in the MPNST cells reverting to more ‘normal’ behavior including reduced cell adhesion and migration, and an increase of cell necrosis (induced cell death). It will now be valuable to target EYA with drugs aiming to treat or prevent the progression of NF1-related malignancies.

The paper’s first author, Shyra Miller, is a former Children’s Tumor Foundation Young Investigator Award recipient. Authors Tim Cripe and Nancy Ratner direct the Cincinnati site of the Foundation’s NF Preclinical Consortium.

* Miller SJ, Lan ZD, Hardiman A, Wu J, Kordich JJ, Patmore DM, Hegde RS, Cripe TP, Cancelas JA, Collins MH, Ratner N.  (2009) Inhibition of Eyes Absent Homolog 4 expression induces malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor necrosis. Oncogene. 2009 Nov 9. [Epub ahead of print]