The National Institutes of Health this month awarded two grants worth nearly $300,000 combined to fund research into the role of microRNAs in cancers.
The first grant was awarded to Dartmouth College’s Angeline Andrew, who is investigating miRNA dysregulation in bladder cancer prognosis.
Among patients who develop non-muscle invasive urothelial cancer, more than half experience recurrent disease, with new tumors often refractory to treatment, Andrew wrote in her grant’s abstract. With the support of the NIH funding, Andrew and her colleagues aim to identify miRNAs that could help identify patients who will experience tumor recurrence in primary tissue.
Having assembled a population-based tissue bank of bladder tumors with long-term recurrence, progression, and survival data from an epidemiologic cohort of more than 1,000 patients with non-muscle invasive urothelial cell carcinoma, the researchers aim to identify miRNAs associated with rapid disease recurrence by assessing primary tumor tissue specimens for miRNA expression levels using small RNA sequence count analysis.
Prognostic miRNA candidates will be prioritized and confirmed using qRT-PCR, and their distribution in urothelial carcinoma cells versus other cell-types will be examined using in situ hybridization.
The prognostic value of the miRNAs will then be assessed as they relate to recurrence, progression, and survival in the population-based case cohort.