Analysis Uncovers Kidney Cancer Development, Response to Treatment

Researchers from the Rogel Cancer Center at the University of Michigan have sequenced the RNA of single cells in cancerous and benign kidney tumors. Using that information, they have  determined cells from which various subtypes originate and how the tumor micro-environment affects the development of cancer and an individual’s response to treatment.

The researchers’ discoveries were reported in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” journal and will be useful in helping better understand what impacts renal cell carcinoma and in assisting oncologists in choosing the best treatment for each patient.

This, in turn, will be beneficial to patients, given that kidney cancers behave differently and respond differently to treatments such as immunotherapy, which results in different outcomes for each patient.

Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology Arul Chinnaiyan, who was also the author of the study, explained that the RNA sequencing of individual cells was important as it enabled the researchers to observe gene expression patterns in every cell, which led them to the discovery of the mechanisms at play in the tumor micro-environment. This can forecast overall survival. Chinnaiyan is also a Michigan Medicine S.P. Hicks Professor of Pathology.

For their research, the researchers collected kidney samples from patients who had undergone partial nephrectomies at the University of Michigan Health System. The tumor specimens that were used for the study were stained and air dried using the Quickdiff process before individual-cell dissociation. After this, all tumor and benign specimens were evaluated with H&E-stained sections (hematoxylin and eosin) by pathologists. The researchers also acquired medullary and separate cortical specimens. They utilized freshly collected tumor and benign kidney samples for individual-cell isolation, with the remaining tissues being used in bulk tissue DNA/RNA isolation.

During their study, the scientists generated gene expression atlases of both renal cell carcinoma and normal kidney cell samples. They then forecasted the putative cell of origin for more than 10 subtypes of renal cell cancer.

The researchers then conducted an analysis showing interactions and pathways in the tumor micro-environment that forecasted if the tumor would respond to immunotherapy. This information could help researchers develop biomarkers to help guide the treatment of kidney cancer.

Chinnaiyan noted that understanding the type of cell where a cancer arises would enable researchers to develop more specific treatments for that type of cancer while also allowing them to better understand a patient’s response to treatments.

The research was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Michigan, with all patients involved in the study providing informed consent.

Such scientific investigations build onto the work of personalizing cancer care as championed by companies such as Predictive Oncology (NASDAQ: POAI) as a way of improving the treatment outcome for each patient.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Predictive Oncology (NASDAQ: POAI) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/POAI

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