Raman spectroscopy can help identify recurrent glioblastoma cells
Research collaborator: Dr. Shilpee Dutt (ACTREC)

Here, Dr. Shilpee Dutt’s group addresses a fundamental issue of poor prognosis observed in Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) patients. This is partially due to lack of accessibility and identification of the innately resistant tumor cell population in the heterogeneous mix of tumor cells and also due to dearth of resistance associated biomarkers which have prevented their detection. To gain access to these cells, their group earlier developed a cellular model of GBM resistance using fresh primary GBM patient samples and cell lines (Kaur E et al, Carcinogenesis, 2015). Using this model, they could retrieve innately resistant Glioblastoma tumor cells which eventually relapsed to generate recurrent cells. In this article, Dr. Dutt shows that morphologically these recurrent cells are similar to parent cells but have increased threshold to survive radiation insult. Furthermore, they also show enhanced expression of survival signals contributed by pERK1/2 and Survivin expression. Most importantly, they demonstrate using Raman spectroscopy, which is a non-invasive, and label free technique, they could objectively detect the resistant cells as a distinct population from the naïve parent tumor population, irrespective of the heterogeneity seen in the tumor samples. Consequently, their data suggests that Raman spectroscopy can be used as a tool to detect innately resistant tumor cells in the tumor biopsies and monitor the radiation response of GBM tumors during the course of the treatment.

The whole transcriptome sequencing and analysis in this study were performed in collaboration with our group.