UCSD & Regulus

Collaborating To Detect Tumor Recurrence Faster

Early detection of tumor recurrence remains one of the greatest challenges in the treatment of brain cancer. 

Through funds raised by the San Diego community in late 2013 at Over the Edge for Brain Cancer (www.otesandiego.org), Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) awarded a grant to UC San Diego and Regulus Therapeutics to address challenges of recurrent tumor detection.

Even with the most sensitive MRI technologies available today, tumor re-growth after surgery can be masked by other changes in brain images caused directly or indirectly by surgery and other treatments such as radiation therapy. Consequently, it is often extremely difficult to discern whether a new drug treatment is working or not for a patient, or in the setting of a clinical trial for a new brain cancer drug candidate.

A research collaboration between UC San Diego and Regulus Therapeutics aims to tackle this problem head-on by profiling cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples to identify a potential microRNA signature in recurrent brain cancer.  Tumor cells, including brain cancer cells, are increasingly known to secrete unique molecule signatures called microRNAs into bodily fluids such as CSF and blood. Regulus Therapeutics has developed a unique technology platform to extract, profile, and analyze microRNAs from small volumes of blood (plasma, serum or whole blood) to differentiate disease from healthy patient samples and to identify microRNAs as potential biomarkers for disease. Regulus has profiled approximately 3,000 clinical samples in a range of disease states and Regulus aims to apply its technology to a clinical trial at UC San Diego Health System.

“This research collaboration aims to address the challenges that clinicians face in distinguishing between reactive changes to therapy or tumor progression, which is a fundamental need in the care of our brain cancer patients,” said Dr. Clark Chen, Vice Chairman, Research and Academic Affairs, division of Neurosurgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine and neurosurgeon with UC San Diego Health System.

“We’re excited to invest in this pioneering research and proud to be value-added teammates and partners in shaping the project,” said Max Wallace, CEO of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.

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