In this project the collaborators Drs. Hjelmeland, UAB and Cooper, HudsonAlpha seek to develop novel therapies by identifying critical molecular signals necessary for Glioblastomas (GBMs) cells to grow and evade current therapies.
GBM are the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults and a disease for which there is no cure. To accomplish this goal, they are focusing on increasing their understanding of a highly tumorigenic subset of GBM cells called brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs). BTICs are radio- and chemoresistant, proangiogenic, and highly invasive, making this tumor cell subset a priority for therapeutic targeting. Recently a pathway important for GBM and BTIC growth has been identified. The collaborators are seeking to define the impacts of this pathway on gene expression and metabolism through a multi-pronged approach using metabolomics and next-generation sequencing. The collaboration of Drs. Hjelmeland and Cooper will utilize both the resources of UAB and HudsonAlpha through the generation of genetically modified and inhibitor treated BTICs at UAB and the analysis of the transcriptome and metabolome of these cells at HudsonAlpha. Analysis of the generated data will be completed at both UAB and HudsonAlpha to identify pathways that are important for the regulation of GBM growth. These results will be important for developing optimal treatment strategies for GBM patients and will have important basic science and preclinical implications.