Modeling the origins of glioma with human embryonic stem cells

When gliomas are found in younger patients, they are often less aggressive (“low-grade” gliomas) but inevitably transform into more aggressive tumors. The early steps in gliomagenesis, i.e. the process whereby a normal brain cell turns into a glioma cell, are not well understood and there are no good mouse models for low-grade gliomas. In our laboratory, we use human embryonic stem cells and their neural progeny to understand how cocktails of oncogenes and inactivated tumor suppressors promote oncogenic transformation.