Neuronal Influences on Cancer Development & Progression

The complex optic glioma ecosystem demonstrating that neurons generate growth-promoting factors that stimulate glioma growth as well as receive neurotoxins (death signals) made by microglia and macrophages in the tumor microenvironment.

The complex optic glioma ecosystem demonstrating that neurons generate growth-promoting factors that stimulate glioma growth as well as receive neurotoxins (death signals) made by microglia and macrophages in the tumor microenvironment.

Based on stunning experimental findings initially reported by Michelle Monje-Deisseroth, MD, PhD (Stanford University) for high-grade glioma, we have initiated studies with her laboratory to define the contribution of neuronal activity to low-grade optic glioma growth. Since the optic nerve is diurnally stimulated by light, we are exploring the impact of neuronal activity on optic glioma formation and growth. These studies may yield important new insights into the pathogenesis of pediatric brain tumors arising within areas of intense neuronal activity during development, as well as reveal new approaches for treating brain tumors (chronotherapy).

Current projects in the Gutmann research laboratory are focused on determining the molecular and cellular contributions of neuronal activity to low-grade optic glioma growth.