Research Studentship - Oleksandra Kaskun

Oleksandra Kaskun is an Undergraduate Science Student at University of Toronto

Oleksandra's project has been generously supported by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Donors

Oleksandra shares why she applied for this Studentship in this article.

Project Update:

Oleksandra shares an update on her Studentship so far in this research poster.

About the project:

Project title: "Targeting Bevacizumb resistance via LIVE-mediated vascular mimicry in Glioblastoma"

The outcomes for patients with glioblastoma (GBM) remain dismal as disease recurrence after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, occurs at 6 months, and most patients succumb to disease progression at just over one year. As GBM is a highly vascular disease, treatments were created using anti-angiogenesis inhibitor bevacizumab, however, the early excitement for bevacizumab has been tempered by findings that its effects are non-sustained. Cancers are able to directly give rise to new blood vessels (angiogenesis), through a process known as vascular mimicry. In our previous work, we identified a novel long non-coding ribonucleic acid (lincRNA) that we named LIVE, which mediates normal blood vessel maturation and directs glioma stem cells toward a vascular fate. The proposed hypothesis is that vascular mimicry is mediated by LIVE, and constitutes a resistance mechanism responsible for GBM progression through bevacizumab. This project will provide insight into the mechanisms that control LIVE and clarify the effect that LIVE has on the role of vascular mimicry as an alternative form of angiogenesis on treatment resistance in GBM. Our findings could have significant relevance not only for patients with GBM, but for patients with other cancers, such as melanoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer, in which vascular mimicry plays a role in cancer progression.

About Oleksandra, in her own words...

Research Student - Oleksandra Kaskun Undergraduate Science Student, University of TorontoBrain tumour research excites me as it allows me to integrate my curiosity about the structural complexity of the human brain with my passion for molecular biology. Glioblastomas are aggressive, fast growing tumours that have been outsmarting brilliant scientists, and I have been granted the chance to contribute to the war against them.

Being awarded a Brain Tumour Research Studentship will not only allow me to improve upon and add to my research skills, but will also grant me the opportunity to work alongside talented scientists, develop a better understanding of the complex control system of cancer cells, and make a promising contribution to brain tumour research. By being immersed fulltime in this project, I will be able to explore and experience medical research, the career path I aspire to follow, as medical research will provide me with the tools to improve the lives of cancer patients, in addition to promote my inquisitive nature.

On behalf of my supervisor, Dr. Sunit Das, and myself I would like to thank the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, Taite Boomer Foundation and all of the donors who make this program possible, for offering me the opportunity to make my impact on brain tumour research.

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