Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wistar Scientists Develop Gene Test to Accurately Classify Brain Tumors

19.02.2014
Computer Model of Gene Transcript Variants May Aid Doctors in Personalizing Therapies

Scientists at The Wistar Institute have developed a mathematical method for classifying forms of glioblastoma, an aggressive and deadly type of brain cancer, through variations in the way these tumor cells “read” genes.

Their system was capable of predicting the subclasses of glioblastoma tumors with 92 percent accuracy. With further testing, this system could enable physicians to accurately predict which forms of therapy would benefit their patients the most.

Their research was performed in collaboration with Donald M. O’Rourke, M.D., a neurosurgeon at the University of Pennsylvania Brain Tumor Center, who provided the glioblastoma samples necessary to validate the Wistar computer model. Their findings were published online in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

“It has become increasingly obvious that understanding the molecular makeup of each patient tumor is the key to personalizing cancer treatments for individual patients,” said Ramana Davuluri, Ph.D., Wistar’s Tobin Kestenbaum Family Professor and associate director of Wistar’s Center for Systems and Computational Biology. “We have developed a computational model that will allow us to predict a patient’s exact variety of glioblastoma based on the transcript variants a given tumor produces.”

“A gene can produce multiple variants, in the form of transcript variants and protein-isoforms. We found that when you use the gene expression information at variant/isoform-level, the statistical analyses recaptured the four known molecular subgroups but with a significant survival difference among the refined subgroups.” said Davuluri. “Using patient data, we found that certain subgroups when combined with patient age, for example, could predict better outcomes using a given course of therapy.”

“As more targeted therapies come into use, this is exactly the sort of information clinicians will need to provide the best hope of survival for their patients,” Davuluri said. “In time, we think this could form the basis of a clinical test that will help oncologists decide a patient’s course of treatment.”

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most lethal of the malignant adult brain tumors, and accounts for over 50 percent of all cases of brain cancer. Even with aggressive combination therapies, the prognosis remains bleak, with median patient survival of 15 months after diagnosis. The disease is also molecularly heterogeneous, that is, composed of subtypes that are not genetically alike or produce the same array of proteins. Genetic data from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) consortium has led to the identification of four subtypes of glioblastoma, but Davuluri and his researchers sought to find a way to quickly identify which patient was which subtype.

In previous studies, Davuluri and his Wistar colleagues have established how changes in the way a cell reads its own DNA can create multiple variations of a single protein. These variant proteins are called isoforms, and they are produced as cells alter how they transcribe a given gene into RNA. Slight changes in how the cellular machine reads a gene can result in protein isoforms with subtle differences in enzymatic activity or longevity.

For example, their earlier research determined how human brains produce different isoforms of specific proteins throughout their lives. Developing fetal brains produce different isoforms of certain genes than adult brains. They also found that changes that trigger the production of the wrong isoform at the wrong time could lead to cancer.

In the Nucleic Acids Research study, the researchers combined assays of these protein isoforms with a computer model they call PIGExClass, or the Platform-independent Isoform-level Gene-EXpression based Classification-system. To categorize glioblastomas with PIGExClass, Davuluri and his colleagues first began with Cancer Genome Atlas data to develop a set of 121 isoform variants whose combination of differences could denote a specific subtype of the brain cancer. PIGExClass is, essentially, a software that ranks gene isoform data into sets based on a set of pre-determined values. The researchers found that, by using this classification system, they could predict the subtype of glioblastoma in the database with 92 percent accuracy.

“When we knew what combination of isoforms could create a specific signature for each type of glioblastoma, we could then create a simple laboratory assay that would look for these differences in patient samples,” Davuluri said. “In this case the test would measure variations in the RNA abundance associated with these 121 isoforms that make up the signature.”

With this new assay in hand, the researchers validated their research using 206 independent samples from the University of Pennsylvania Brain Tumor Tissue Bank. According to Davuluri, when you accounted for differences in the makeup of the pools of patients between TCGA and Penn, the accuracy of the assay remained the same.

Co-authors include Luke Macyszyn, M.D., a neurosurgery resident at the University of Pennsylvania, and Wistar scientists Sharmistha Pal, Ph.D., Yingtao Bi, Ph.D., and Professor Louise C. Showe, Ph.D. This study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health [award number R01LM011297].

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures.

Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wistar.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>