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11.03.2015

Sylvester Researcher Presents Sarcoma Findings at World Congress on Advances in Oncology

Karina Galoian, Ph.D., research director of the Sarcoma Disease Site Group at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and a Sylvester member, recently spoke at the 20th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 18th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine, which took place in Athens, Greece, and were organized by Spandidos Publications. Earlier this year, Galoian and colleagues published findings in two different Spandidos journals — Molecular and Clinical Oncology and International Journal of Oncology.

Galoian, who is also research associate professor of orthopaedics, and her team focus on developing treatment protocols for sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that results from the unregulated growth of mesenchymal stem cells. These cells can develop into tissues of the lymphatic and circulatory systems, as well as connective tissue. Sarcomas respond poorly to standard cancer treatment protocols, such as chemotherapy or radiation, often leaving surgery as the only viable option. This is why novel, effective therapies for this metastatic disease are urgently needed.

In her talk, Galoian summarized recent findings of a study of chondrosarcoma — a sarcoma in cells that produce cartilage — performed by scientists from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, the Center for Therapeutic Innovation, the Division of Oncology in the Department of Medicine, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The experimental results presented by Galoian indicated that neuropeptide immunomodulator, called proline-rich polypeptide 1 (PRP-1), reduced the growth of chondrosarcoma cells by 80 percent. Recently Galoian and her collaborators demonstrated that PRP-1 was capable of restoring expression of desmosomal tumor-suppressor proteins, which are downregulated almost to the point of not being present in the tumor, as well as upregulating tumor-suppressor miRNAs and downregulating onco miRNAs. Inhibition of histone H3K9 demethylase activity by PRP-1 led to downregulation of cancer and embryonic stem cell regulator miR302C and its targets, including Bmi-1, Nanog, Myc and others. There was obvious observed correlation between the antiproliferative activity of PRP-1 and its action on downregulation of miR302c.

“I was honored to present my research at this congress, which attracted top cancer researchers from around the world,” said Galoian. “I was able to exchange ideas and discuss possible collaborations with scientists from other leading cancer centers. These conferences are very important in promoting the research necessary to make strides in our fight against cancer.”

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