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Extracellular vesicles in glioblastoma tissue

An individual who is diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer has a less than 3% chance of survival in the ~12-15 months following diagnosis. Despite decades of research, the cause of aggressive brain cancer is unknown and despite repeated efforts there is no way to prevent or effectively treat the disease.

Aims

We aim to be the first to profile glioblastoma brain derived extracellular vesicles and determine if cancer associated proteins traffic around the brain via these vesicles.

An individual who is diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer has a less than 3% chance of survival in the ~12-15 months following diagnosis. Despite decades of research, the cause of aggressive brain cancer is unknown and despite repeated efforts there is no way to prevent or effectively treat the disease. A new approach to the study of brain cancer is long overdue. This project will investigate extracellular vesicles in the brain, and their role in the brain cancer, glioblastoma.

In recent years, extracellular vesicles have emerged as key players in neurological diseases. Extracellular vesicles are important for two principal reasons, they contain a selection of proteins, RNA and lipids, which act as key players in cell-to-cell communication and can be characterised to provide a snapshot of the parental cell and disease mechanisms.

The proposed project will tap into the wealth of molecular information contained within extracellular vesicles in glioblastoma by isolating and characterising vesicles in human neurological control and disease effected brain tissue.

The student will learn techniques including exosome isolation, western blotting, density gradients and electron microscopy. This will be a collaborative research project with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and The Department of Surgery and The Department of Medicine, The University for Melbourne. 

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