Brain Tumor Research Grant Awarded

In partnership with the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), the SBTF awarded a 2023 Medical Student Summer Fellowship for brain tumor research.

A Medical Student Summer Fellowship is a three month, mentor-guided summer brain tumor research experience, intended to motivate talented medical students to pursue a career in neuro-oncology research. The SBTF awarded Himanshu Dashora, BS from the Cleveland Clinic mentored by Dr. Jennifer Yu to study a project “Evaluating the Role of Translational Regulation in GSCs for Hypoxic Adaptation.”

Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly malignant tumor derived from glial cells. It is the most common primary malignant in adults with a median survival of 15 months. Current treatment strategies involve surgical resection followed by radiotherapy with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, GBM is highly resistant to therapy and will inevitably recur resulting in poor patient outcomes. Deeper characterization of the tumor environment has revealed the presence of great diversity among the cells that make up the tumor , hypoxic regions (low Oxygen level), high cell growth or proliferation, and angiogenesis. The critical cellular player involved with these tumor behaviors is the glioblastoma stem-like cell (GSC).

Strategies to target these GSCs have proven to be unsuccessful so far but remain a promising avenue for research. There is a need to develop a deeper understanding of GSC biology, starting with the regulatory mechanisms with which they adapt to the hypoxic environment of GBM and promote tumor growth. However, most studies exploring GSCs are performed in normoxic (normal levels of oxygen) conditions. Further, the central aspect of translation, an important step in gene regulation where genetic information is converted to functional proteins, remains understudied. Our proposal involves studying the translation (mRNA-to-protein) regulatory step in protein synthesis, as opposed to the more commonly explored transcription (DNA-to-mRNA) regulatory step. We expect to find genes that are modulated by hypoxia exclusively through translational regulation, revealing a novel list of candidates for future therapy.

You can read more about this award and the other MSSF awardees on the ABTA’s website. The impact of your generosity can be found on the SBTF’s Impact page.

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