A collaboration between San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), Moores Cancer Center, and Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, is shedding light on the underlying genetic mechanisms responsible for glioblastomas (GBM), highly aggressive and infiltrative brain tumors. Using SDSC’s data-intensive Gordon supercomputer, the partners were able to identify a pyramid hierarchical network of “coherent gene modules” that regulate glioblastoma genes.
This image shows transcription regulators on the different levels of hierarchy that control the specified coherent gene modules responsible for glioblastoma. Source: Valentina L. Kouznetsova, SDSC.
These are the most important gene modules responsible for cancer growth and proliferation, and understanding how they work is key to the development of new drug therapies. A writeup of the study appears in the U.K. journal Molecular BioSystems, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
As this release from SDSC explains, targeting of individual molecules has not proved successful for treating GBM. In actuality there is a complex interplay of connections that need to be studied in unison. The BiologicalNetworks server in tandem with SDSC’s data-intensive Gordon supercomputer proved a good match for the data-intensive nature of this problem. Test runs showed up to a 200x improvement in application speed.
“This innovative network analysis identified several central nodes in signaling networks in glioblastoma that could help us design personalized clinical trials using available and new drugs in development,” said Santosh Kesari, director of Neuro-Oncology and a professor of neurosciences at the Moores Cancer Center.