Funded by the 2017 Virginia Vine event
Almost all of our knowledge about cancer and medicine is about the proteins that are encoded by only 2% of human genome (the DNA that is contained in our chromosomes and carries the program for making our cells and controlling them). However, in the recent years the scientific world has been transformed by the revelation that significant parts of our genome are expressed as molecules called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), which do not code any proteins, but nevertheless play critical roles in normal and diseased conditions. LncRNAs are critical for gliomas, reveal novel molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and are new targets for therapy. LncRNAs are expressed in different subtypes of gliomas at higher or lower levels compared to the surrounding normal brain, and this makes them useful as novel markers that may help in diagnosis and in predicting outcome for the patient. So far only a few lncRNAs associated with gliomas have been functionally characterized, and even less is known about their mechanisms of action and their usefulness as markers. In this collaboration between Drs. Dutta and Abounader we will focus on novel lncRNAs- H19, LINC00152 and several TUCRs, that are differentially expressed in gliomas and that influence the way a glioma behaves. Our objective is to determine the mechanisms by which these RNAs affect glioma biology, get a comprehensive catalog of all TUCRs that are differently expressed in gliomas and to determine whether targeting these lncRNAs will be therapeutic for gliomas.