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Glioma Development Linked to Methylation Marks in Mouse Model

In a paper appearing in Cell, a team from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, the Broad Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital report on methylation changes found in human IDH-mutant glioma cases that appear to prompt development of the brain cancer in a mouse model of the disease. With CRISPR-based gene editing, the researchers delved into recurrent epigenetic changes near the PDGFRA oncogene and the CDKN2A tumor suppressor gene in mouse oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, showing that the glioma-linked changes led to enhanced PDGFRA activity and CDKN2A silencing that stemmed from altered interactions involving insulator and enhancer regions. "Our study demonstrates that the disruption of an insulator and topological boundary can drive oncogene expression and gliomagenesis in vivo and provides a framework for modeling and functionally characterizing oncogenic regulatory alterations going forward," they write, adding that "[f]uture studies are needed to further characterize the PDGFRA locus and its regulation in developing brain tissue and tumors, as well as to identify and characterize other epigenetic lesions that drive tumorigenesis."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.