Qi Zhang, London Health Sciences Centre
Project Title: “Discovering Lung Cancer Biomarkers Predictive of Brain Metastasis”
Cancer from other parts of the body can spread to the brain. This is known as brain metastasis. Lung cancer is the most common cancer that spreads to the brain. The diagnosis of brain metastasis is usually made at a late stage, with very serious complications. Our understanding of brain metastasis process is poor and we are limited in our ability to detect and treat cancer that has spread to the brain. The brain has unique defense mechanisms to protect itself from tumour cell invasion. In order for cancer cells to enter and survive within the brain, it has to go through multiple steps and break down these defenses. In animal models and cell culture studies, researchers have recently found that certain cancer cells were able to make small molecules to help them break through the defenses.
In our study, we will examine samples from lung cancer patients taken at different time points to identify what changes take place in lung cancer cells to allow the cells to move and evade the brain defense mechanisms. We will use a state-of-the-art molecular technique called Microarrays, to discover the molecules specifically expressed by the cancer cells moving to the brain. The primary goal of our timely research is to identify key regulators that facilitate brain metastasis so that we can detect and treat brain metastasis.
What receiving this award means to Qi:
“As a new clinician researcher, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Research Grant will support me to establish a research program in studying brain metastatic tumours. Our goal is to develop a panel of molecular biomarkers specific for prevention, detection and treatment of lung cancer brain metastasis.”
You can read the study here: