Gene Regulation of Glioblastoma

Denise Smith (Biology)

Gene Regulation of Glioblastoma by MicroRNA

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States with an estimated 1,660,290 newly diagnosed cases in 2013 and 580,350 deaths.  Many cancers have seen significant strides in diagnosis, treatment and cure, but the brain cancer Glioblastoma Multiforme has not had the same success.  Targeting children and young adults, it has a five year survival rate of only 3% and the only current treatment is surgical intervention which has little success due to the invasive nature of this cancer.

Past research completed has shown the importance of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in these tumors.  PDGF has been found to be over-expressed by these glioblastoma tumors.  Further research has revealed that two transcription factors, activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB), are abnormally expressed as a result of the over-expression of PDGF.  The recent discovery of gene regulation by microRNA (miRNA) has revealed a further layer of gene regulation.

It is the goal of this research to begin to better understand the miRNA regulation of glioblastoma in relation to the two transcription factors previously mentioned.  The research will utilize a transient gene knockout approach to start unraveling the complexity that is gene regulation.  Little research has been done in this area and provides a novel approach to the understanding of this disease.  

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