A new research study published June 20 in Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology found key biological differences between aggressive and more indolent, less harmful brain tumors that develop in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. NF1 is a genetic disorder that can predispose those affected to benign and cancerous nervous system tumors. “These findings may lead to better diagnostic/prognostic tests and insights into therapeutic targets,” says Fausto Rodriguez, M.D., senior author and professor of pathology. "We identified differences in global levels of microRNAs between high grade (aggressive) and low grade (more favorable) brain tumors that develop in neurofibromatosis type 1. One of the top microRNAs (miR-10b) was significantly increased in the aggressive tumors and promoted invasion in cultured brain tumor cells.” MicroRNAs are non-coding RNAs, transcribed from DNA but not translated into proteins, that play key roles in the regulation of gene expression.