UC researchers sequence individual glioblastoma genomes and track abnormalities through the bloodstream

February 24, 2016

The study is important, Rixe said, because doctors do not currently have robust biomarkers to correlate with therapeutic activity.

Equally important, the discovery of biomarkers may provide scientists with new therapeutic targets. By identifying a specific genetic abnormality or mutation, for example, they can work to develop a future therapy that attacks that mutation.

Rixe foresees a time when the tumor DNA of every patient with GBM is sequenced to provide for optimal treatment monitoring.

The UC Brain Tumor Center is well positioned to lead the study because it is a regional destination for patients with brain tumors. The center treats approximately 100 individuals with glioblastoma every year and maintains a tumor bank containing approximately 1,000 tissue samples.

Sequencing of the GBM tumors will be performed by the department of genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York with an Illumina GenomeAnalyzer.

In addition to Rixe and Warnick, the study's multi-disciplinary research team includes UC faculty Christopher McPherson, MD (neurosurgery), El Mustapha Bahassi, PhD, and Peter Stambrook, PhD (molecular genetics), and Muhammad Shaalan Beg, MD (hemotology-oncology) and Jan Vijg, PhD, Chair of the genetics department at Albert Einstein.

"It is a significant step for the UC Brain Tumor Center to embark on a novel study that involves genetic testing and molecular collaboration among surgeons, neuro-medical oncologists and basic scientists," Rixe said. "This is a real translation medicine - from the operating room to the laboratory bench. This is the best way to investigate, and I hope we will have some truly relevant findings for our patients."

Source: University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center