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University of Cincinnati team to track tumor DNA through bloodstream
Date:4/4/2011

CINCINNATIMedical scientists know this about glioblastoma multiforme: the malignant brain tumor is aggressive, it is elusive, and it appears in different permutations.

In a novel effort to unravel the multiple identities of glioblastoma, a team of University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers has begun sequencing individual glioblastoma genomes and tracking abnormalities through the bloodstream. They hope that by mapping the various DNA rearrangements of glioblastoma tumors they will be able to establish biomarkers that will help them track the cancer's progress and guide their efforts to treat patients more effectively. They also hope the biomarkers will help them identify targets for new, improved therapies for the future.

The effort involves researchers from the UC Neuroscience Institute's Brain Tumor Center and the UC Cancer Institute.

"Glioblastoma tumors show some similarities under the microscope," explains Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD, director of the UC Experimental Therapeutics Program in and a neuro-oncologist with UC Health and the UC Brain Tumor Center. "But when we go deeper and deeper, we see some significant differences, especially in the DNA and chromosomes. So there is no one single glioblastoma. Each tumor is different."

During the next few months, the team will use a $50,000 grant from the Mayfield Education and Research Fund to map the DNA of glioblastoma cancer cells taken from tumors that have been surgically removed from 10 study participants. The genome of each tumor can be sequenced for about $3,000.

Genome sequencing has been done previously for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Cincinnati study's innovation lies in its quest to identify genetic abnormalities in individual tumors and then follow those abnormalities through the bloodstream. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have employed the technique for a limited number of patients diagnosed with
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Contact: Cindy Starr
cstarr@mayfieldclinic.com
513-558-3505
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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