Viral infections are associated with several human malignancies, yet the role of viral infections in the central nervous system (CNS) tumors remains unclear. Although human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has been associated with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the mechanisms of pathogenesis remain to be determined. GBM is the most common primary malignancy in the CNS, and unfortunately, it is also one of the most devastating. Novel approaches to studying this disease are paramount for the advancement in treatment options for patients with this dismal disease. Using robust next generation sequencing technology, this project aims to provide insight into HCMV biology related to GBMs. In addition, investigation of the tumor microenvironment for HCMV specific host cellular gene changes will lead to the discovery of pathways in which HCMV dysregulation promotes GBM pathology. The overarching hypothesis for this project is that HCMV contributes to GBM pathogenesis through modulation of the tumor microenvironment.

Public Health Relevance

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most devastating cancers in humans. With an average survival time of just over one year, there is a significant need for advanced therapeutic options and a more in-depth understanding of its biology. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has been linked to GBMs, but the underlying mechanisms by which HCMV promotes GBM pathogenesis are currently unclear. An understanding of HCMV and GBMs is not only important for understanding the disease process but also to guide the development of preventative and/or therapeutic approaches including vaccines and anti-virals.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Individual Predoctoral NRSA for M.D./Ph.D. Fellowships (ADAMHA) (F30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F13-C (20))
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Damico, Mark W
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Tulane University
Schools of Medicine
New Orleans
United States
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