Bakhos A Tannous
Harvard Medical School, USA
Title: Glioblastoma cells and stem cells: Imaging and gene/drug/cell therapy
Biography: Bakhos A Tannous
Glioblastomas (GBMs) comprises >50% of all primary brain tumors and are the most malignant type with a 5-year survival rate of only 3.3%, despite standard-of-care (surgery, radiation and temozolomide). Recently it has been shown that the glioma stem-like cells (GSCs; or tumor initiating cells) sub-population of the tumor are largely responsive for tumor resistance, recurrence and patient death, thus providing a clinically-relevant model to study GBM. GBMs are highly heterogeneous and there is a complex interaction among different subtypes of tumor cells and stromal cells associated with the tumor which can modify the tumor itself as well as its microenvironment to promote tumor growth, invasion, angiogenesis and immune suppression. The transcriptome profiles of GBMs has identified four major subtypes, two of which, proneural (PN) and mesenchymal (MES), predominate with multiple subtypes residing in the same tumor. GBM with enriched MES properties typically display a more aggressive phenotype both in vitro and in vivo with pronounced radio/chemo resistance. Our goal is to understand GBM progression and therapeutic resistance to help us develop novel diagnostics/therapeutics aiming at eradicating this cancer type. Over the last several years, we have developed novel efficient gene/drug/cell therapeutic strategies that bypass the blood-brain barrier to target and eradicate patient-derived GBM stem cells model.