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Uncover regulators of key glioblastoma cell states and test their therapeutic potential

Principal Investigator:
  • Federico Gaiti, University Health Network
  • Azrieli Foundation

Project Overview

Tumors continuously change towards more aggressive and resistant forms. Brain tumors illustrate the quandary of cancer evolution: despite standard-of-care treatment, the disease invariably progress and returns. Nearly 3,000 Canadians are diagnosed with brain tumor each year. Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive and common type of primary malignant brain tumor, with survival rate averaging about one year and, thus, with an urgent need for novel treatments. Identifying the genetic makeup of the diverse cancer cells within GBM tumors, using innovative genetic sequencing approaches, is key to developing novel and effective therapies to target them. However, we currently lack an understanding of the main molecular factors that underlie this malignant transformation. Towards this goal, we seek to develop and apply multi-layered innovative genomic technologies and analytics to a unique cohort of GBM tumor samples. These data will allow us to define the determinants on the path to aggressive malignant transformation, and identify the regulatory factors associated with GBM evolution and therapeutic resistance. We anticipate that the technologies and findings generated in this work will also be broadly applicable across other tumor types, yielding novel conceptual frameworks for the central challenge of tumor evolution and, thus, the Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research Grants Program support for this work will have a broad transformative impact.