UAB Study Aims to build Better Model for Brain Tumors


 
Christopher Willey, MD, PhD

A research team led by UAB is launching a study to find a better model for glioblastoma, a particularly devastating type of brain tumor, to help determine the most appropriate treatment modality. The $3.6 million grant is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The UAB team will join four other institutions with similar awards -- University of California-San Francisco, Duke University, University of Utah, and Cold Spring Harbor Labs/Jackson Labs, to form the Patient-derived Models Consortium, or PDMC.

For years, the NCI had recommended using a set of cancer cell lines, called the NCI-60, which included glioblastoma cells, for pre-clinical testing. Pre-clinical testing can provide physicians with important information on the makeup of tumors, guiding the development of new treatment approaches. Unfortunately, the clinical success rate following NCI-60 panel testing was not as effective as desired, particularly for glioblastoma.

Use of the NCI-60 has been phased out in favor of patient-derived xenografts, or PDX, in which a patient's own tumor cells are grown in a mouse model. Xenograft models permit cancer cell interactions with other cells and conditions that are not currently fully replicated in a laboratory dish. Creating and testing patient-derived xenografts is a slow process, so the NCI is looking for the most effective ways to use the xenografts to identify new ways to fight cancer.

The UAB-led research team is examining two new technologies, neurospheres and microtumors, and will compare them with PDX.

"Neurospheres are self-assembling groups of cells that can be grown in defined media conditions," said Christopher Willey, MD, PhD, associate professor, Department of Radiation Oncology in the UAB School of Medicine. "Microtumors involve embedding the same type of tumor cells into a matrix material in a three-dimensional structure. Both allow for high-throughput screening of potential drugs, which should produce a cheaper and quicker way to identify compounds that might have therapeutic benefit."

The study will attempt to better understand how the various models -- neurospheres, microtumors or PDX animal models -- are influenced by their growth conditions in terms of their molecular signaling and sensitivity to cancer treatments.

"Our intent is to see how these systems respond to typical therapies, such as chemotherapy or radiation," said Yancey Gillespie, PhD, professor emeritus in the Department of Neurosurgery. "We will be able to directly determine which genes are being expressed and which enzymes are active in the same tumor cells growing in three different environments. This data will allow us to change the models or their environments to mimic the brain tumor environment in the patient and then assess how each model responds to therapy. The idea is to make a more accurate, patient-like model for human brain tumors."


Anita Hielmeland, PhD

"Some treatments we thought would work well in brain tumor patients have not been as effective as hoped. We believe we can identify better therapies if we have a model that most closely represents actual tumors in a human brain," said Anita Hjelmeland, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology.


Jake Chen, PhD

"To characterize these PDX models, we plan to apply an array of new computational tools," said Jake Chen, PhD, chief bioinformatics officer of the UAB Informatics Institute. "Genomic, transcriptomic and kinomic data will be systematically collected from these glioblastoma PDX models. We will develop new bioinformatics and systems biology techniques to integrate all these quantitatively measured signals -- hundreds of thousands of them for each model -- to build 'in silico' models. These models can then be manipulated in computers rapidly and help us predict each tumor's subtype and drug sensitivity behaviors before actual experiments are performed."

 
Share:

 

More Grand Rounds:

 

Baskin Named President of SBM

Baskin Named President of SBM

Monica L. Baskin, PhD has been selected president-elect of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM).

Read More

Urgent Care for Children Completes Round of Funding

Urgent Care for Children Completes Round of Funding

Urgent Care for Children (UC4C), a physician-owned pediatric urgent care provider, has completed a multi-million dollar round of Series A financing from McKinney Capital and Timberline Holdings.

Read More

Medicaid Contracts Awarded to My Care Alabama

The Alabama Medicaid Agency has awarded My Care Alabama (My Care), a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama affiliate, contracts to serve 325,000 Medicaid eligible individuals in the northwest, east and central regions of the state, effective October 1, 2019.

Read More

Richter Recognized

Richter Recognized

Holly Richter, PhD, MD, professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and urogynecologist at UAB, has been awarded the 2019 Distinguished Surgeon Award by the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons (SGS).

Read More

Jefferson County and UAB Advance Talks on Cooper Green

Jefferson County, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the UAB Health System have taken another step toward creating a University Authority to operate Cooper Green Mercy Health Services.

Read More

Requijo Joins West Neuropsychology

Requijo Joins West Neuropsychology

Joanne Requijo, MS, LPC, NCC has joined West Neuropsychology.

Read More

Huh and Kim to Serve in National Gynecologic Oncology Leadership Positions

Huh and Kim to Serve in National Gynecologic Oncology Leadership Positions

Warner Huh, MD professor and director of the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology and vice chair of UAB Gynecology, has been named president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO).

Read More

Miller Selected as Division Director of UAB Neuropathology

Miller Selected as Division Director of UAB Neuropathology

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Neuropathology has named C. Ryan Miller, MD, PhD, as division director.

Read More

Bouchard and Wilensky Join Cardiology Specialists

Bouchard and Wilensky Join Cardiology Specialists

Alain Bouchard, MD and Michael K. Wilensky, MD have joined Cardiology Specialists of Birmingham where they are practicing on the St. Vincent's Birmingham campus.

Read More

Women's Care Specialists Moving Practice

Women's Care Specialists Moving Practice

Women's Care Specialists is moving its practice to the Physicians Plaza at Grandview Medical Center this coming fall.

Read More

Moul Joins Birmingham Orthopedics & Spine Specialists

Moul Joins Birmingham Orthopedics & Spine Specialists

Rebecca Moul, DO has joined Birmingham Orthopedics & Spine Specialists. Moul is board certified by the AOBOS. She specializes in orthopedic surgery, Arthroscopy and sports medicine.

Read More

Fayette Medical Center and its Long Term Care Facility among Top in US

FMC achieved a five-star rating from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Read More

Number of Premature Babies Born to Single Mothers Decreases Thanks to Partnership

The number of premature births in Jefferson County has decreased thanks to the Nurse-Family Partnership, a program run by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing and the Jefferson County Department of Health.

Read More

Grandview Names Employee of the Year

Grandview Names Employee of the Year

Trussville resident Hai Nguyen was recently named Grandview Medical Center's 2018 Employee of the Year.

Read More

BCBS Promotes Williams

BCBS Promotes Williams

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has promoted Tyler Williams to Vice President, District and Consumer Sales.

Read More

Butler Named Dean of UAB School of Health Professions

Butler Named Dean of UAB School of Health Professions

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has named Andrew J. Butler, MPT, MBA, PhD, dean of the UAB School of Health Professions following a national search.

Read More

Bogard to Chair Health Law Section of Alabama State Bar

Bogard to Chair Health Law Section of Alabama State Bar

Howard Bogard, a partner with Burr Forman, was recently appointed to serve as chair of the Alabama State Bar Association's (ASB) Health Law Section.

Read More

North Harbor Pavilion Recognized

North Harbor Pavilion at Northport Medical Center has been recognized for providing outstanding patient experience.

Read More

Hindman Named CNO at Princeton

Hindman Named CNO at Princeton

Robbie Hindman has been named Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of Princeton Baptist Medical Center.

Read More

UAB Graduate Programs Ranked among Nation's best

Master's in Health Administration Ranked No. 1

Read More

 

Email Print
 

Tags:
None
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: