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Washington University NF Center Researchers Define Potential Target for NF2-Associated Spinal Tumor Treatment

Individuals with NF2 are at increased risk for developing spinal cord tumors called ependymomas. Currently, the only available treatment for these tumors is surgery.
Cindy Garcia, PhD, a former graduate student in the laboratory of David H. Gutmann, MD PhD, used genetically-engineered mouse models of NF2 to determine how the Nf2 protein, merlin, controls spinal cord cell growth. She found that merlin suppresses the activity of a critical growth factor receptor, called ErbB2, and that blocking ErbB2 activation in NF2-deficient cells inhibited their growth. These findings offer potential targets for new drug treatments.cindy nf2
Garcia C, Gutmann DH. Nf2/Merlin controls spinal cord neural progenitor function in a Rac1/ErbB2-dependent manner. PLoS One. 9:e97320, 2014.