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[2019/03/13] Dr. Tsai and his Team’s Research Results have been Published in the World-Leading Journal Developmental Cell


Dr. Tsai and the first author of the paper Dr. Chang (right)


Dr. Tsai from the Institute of Brain Science and the Institut Curie (Paris, France) have discovered during their latest research the medulloblastoma's pathogenic mechanism and as a result also identified possible treatments. The discoveries have been published in one of the top ranking journals of developmental biology, Developmental Cell (Chang CH et al. Dev Cell. 2019 Jan 28; 48(2):184-199).


This study investigated the pathogenic mechanism of medulloblastoma, one of most prevalent malignant brain tumors of children. This type of tumor occurs in the cerebellum and has been proposed to originate from neural progenitor cells during cerebellar development. Dr. Tsai’s team used a series of advanced technological methods to study tumor formation in the mouse and during cell culture. They found that a "master" gene that regulates cerebellar development; this gene is called Atoh1 and maintains the primary cilia, the "antennae"-like protrusions, involved in receiving a variety of biological stimuli, including proliferation signals (Figure). In certain circumstances these progenitor cells become over-activated and continue to proliferate, which gives rise to a tumor. The team further found that by either stopping expression of Atoh1 or reducing primary cilial activation, they were able to inhibit medulloblastoma formation in their mouse model. The discovery of this novel pathway leading to medulloblastoma may help to create new strategies for the treatment of cerebellar tumors in humans.


Dr. Tsai and his team in this figure explain how the transcription factor Atoh1 affects cell proliferation and the process of cancer development via regulation involving neural stem cell cilia


Dr. Tsai and Olivier Ayrault from the Institut Curie (Paris, France) were the corresponding authors of this paper and the research was supported by grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology “Partenariat Hubert Curien Orchid Program”, Ministry of Education “Higher Education Sprout Project” and the NYMU School of Medicine “Development and Construction Plan.” The first author, Dr. Chang (M.D.—National Yang-Ming University, Master’s degree—National Yang-Ming University Institute of Brain Science) also received a doctorate degree in the “Program of Molecular Medicine”, which is run jointly by NYMU and the Academia Sinica. In addition, he is also an outstanding researcher trained within the NYMU Physician Scientist Program and was awarded the “Mr. Ying, Xun-Rou Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Character and Learning” in 2015.


Dr. Tsai’s team has also published in other world-leading journals including a new gene screening method in “Nature Communications” last June (Identification of genes associated with cortical malformation using a transposon-mediated somatic mutagenesis screen in mice, Lu et al., Nature Communications 9, Article number: 2498 (2018))