Understanding the complexity of miRNA-regulated pathways in medulloblastoma

Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumour in children. More than one third of children with MB do not survive and essentially 100% of survivors face high risk of recurrence and significant long-term quality of life issues. Thus, there is a critical need for more effective therapies to combat this disease, particularly for those tumours featuring excessive levels of Myc protein, which triggers uncontrolled cell growth. Since 2009, we have appreciated that microRNAs (miRNAs), small molecules of RNA that regulate how messenger RNAs (mRNA) lead to protein expression, are altered in MB and contribute to its development. This proposal brings together two strands of science – Myc signalling and miRNA biology – to get a better perspective of their role in the biology of MB. Integrated genomic analysis will provide new insights into how miRNAs control gene expression in MB and, in turn, how the Myc oncoprotein, and its inhibitory partner Miz1, repress the expression of some miRNAs to shape the aggressive behaviour of MB. It is hoped that improving our molecular understanding of MB will lead to more targeted therapeutic approaches and identification of disease-specific molecular markers, promoting longer survival in those children diagnosed with aggressive tumours.

Grant Award – Kidscan Pump Priming Grant (2016)
Funding Award – £7,500
Funding Awarded To – Dr Gianpiero Di Leva
Research Location – University of Salford
Lead Researcher – Dr Gianpiero Di Leva