utilizing hypoxia-response models to
 identify novel neuroblastoma therapy

Similar to other cancers, neuroblastoma tumors have decreased access to oxygen compared to normal cells. This causes changes in the tumor cells that lead to aggressive growth and therapy resistance. We hypothesize that an improved understanding of the genes responsible for this response will allow for the development of more effective treatments for patients with neuroblastoma. We aim to verify the role of several genes we believe are important in this process and will identify additional genes by incorporating information across multiple tumor types in order to find new avenues for target treatments for patients.

Dr. Applebaum has recently finished the research funded by the CRF Young Investigator Award and has produced some pretty interesting results.  In this project, the goal was to analyze changes observed in cancer tumor cells as they grow larger and can reach a point where the cells are seriously deprived of oxygen.  Two oxygen deprivation factors or “hypoxia factors” have been identified and are correlated with aggressive disease; Dr. Applebaum’s goal was to study the transcription pathways in hypoxia that might be involved in this relationship. He found nine genes that were increased in hypoxia, each of which might be a therapeutic target.  In addition, he found that of the two known hypoxia factors, only one seemed to facilitate cell proliferation, which is different than results found in human tumor samples.  Dr. Applebaum is now working on creating a live model in which the two factors are knocked out singularly, to expand on his findings.

To read Dr. Applebaum’s full report, see below.