June 18, 2009

Grant Will Further Research Into Genomic Instability Of Osteosarcoma

A grant from the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative will allow Dr. Pulivarthi Rao, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and his team of researchers to explore the role of the gene CDC5L in the development of osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer in children.

Rao received the $50,000 one-year grant for his research proposal, "Molecular basis of genomic instability in osteosarcoma."

"Osteosarcoma is often present with complex chromosomal rearrangements, deletions and amplifications, suggesting that genomic instability is linked to the development of this type of tumor," explained Rao, who also heads the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory at the Texas Children's Cancer Center.

Rao and his research colleagues recently identified CDC5L, a cell division cycle gene, as playing a significant role in the genomic instability and cause of osteosarcoma.

"A complete molecular understanding of CDC5L and its regulation has important implications and applications for cancer biology," Rao said.

The study aims to identify genes regulated by CDC5L, which will shed light on the way in which similar proteins regulate cell cycle progression and will provide vital insight into the molecular mechanisms of the development of malignancy.

Additionally, identifying inhibitors of CDC5L function could lead to ways of stopping cancer cells from multiplying, Rao said.

The Liddy Shriver Initiative was launched by Bruce and Beverly Shriver after their daughter, Elizabeth (Liddy) Shriver, was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. She died in January 2004.

"We're pleased to be able to help further research to find a cure for this wretched disease," Bruce Shriver said. "It is our fundamental belief that advancing an understanding in any one of the sarcomas helps research in all areas of sarcoma."

Funding for the grant came from family and friends of Sean Keane, Frank Shafer and Brandon Gordon, who lost their lives to osteosarcoma, and of Logan Brasic, Matthew Siegle, Emma Keortzen and Lauren Chelenza, who are currently fighting this disease.

Research collaborators include Drs. Xin-Yan Lu, Yi-Jue Zhao and Debananda Pati, all of the department of pediatrics "“ hematology and oncology at BCM.


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