"Our research suggests you can't treat all patients the same," Serao said. "For example, we found gene expression patterns that have different, and sometimes opposite, relationships with survival in males and females and concluded that treatments affecting these genes will not be equally effective. Personalized therapy dependent on gender, race and age is something that is possible today with our advanced genomic tools."
Recognizing that genes seldom act alone, this team of researchers took several genes into consideration at the same time and uncovered networks of genes related to glioblastoma survival.
Sandra Rodriguez Zas, co-researcher and U of I professor of animal science and bioinformatics, said they looked at commonalities between the genes linked to glioblastoma survival and progression, too.
"If a large number of genes linked to survival belong to a particular pathway, this pathway is considered enriched," Rodriguez Zas said. "Depending on whether the pathway and genes have tumor suppressor or oncogenic characteristics, we should be able to use that information to support or attack that pathway with targeted therapies."
Gaining a deeper understanding of the biological meaning, or roles, for these genes will provide researchers with even more ammunition to fight this deadly form of brain cancer.
"Because of the innovative approach we used, we believe we can more confidently predict whether a patient will have a shorter or longer survival rate and select the most adequate therapies," she said.
This study, "Cell cycle and aging, morphogenesis, and response to stimuli genes are individualized biomarkers of glioblastoma progression and survival," was published in BMC Medical Genomics. Researchers include Nicola Serao, Kristin Delfino, Bruce Southey, Jonathan Beever and Sandra Rodr
|Contact: Jennifer Shike|
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences