Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute have secured $10.4 million over five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI) to investigate at the molecular level the difference in glioblastoma between males and females. By delving into the genetics, epigenetics and cell biology of glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer in adults, the team hopes to better understand the physiologic processes which can point the way to powerful personalized therapies.
Glioblastoma: Rare but Deadly
Occurring at about 3.5-4 per 100,000 in America from 2012-16, glioblastomas are rare, according to the most recent data available from the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS). Despite available treatments, glioblastomas have devastating consequences for patients. The median survival time is 12 to 14 months, and only about 5% of patients survive more than five years.
Previous research reveals differences between the genders as glioblastoma is 60 percent higher in males than females. Moreover, females appear to face better survival rates. While some basic differences among the sexes is understood now, they aren’t considered in treatment regimens.
The ream is led by Justin Lathia, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The team also includes other research center colleagues from Penn State College of Medicine (James Connor, PhD), Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (Joshua Rubin, MD, PhD) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN) (Michael Berens, PhD).
A ‘Game Changer’
Now with molecular profiling technology, computing and analytics powers, Jill Barnholtz-Sloan conveyed recently that “This next phase of research relies on vast, varied and complex datasets—in animals and humans—and promises to be a game-changer in how we understand the role of sex in tumor formation and disease outcomes. This comprehensive approach has applications to all forms of cancer as well as other diseases.”
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