Neuroblastoma targeted therapy: employment of CRISPR gene-editing to explore relevant markers and potential targets in aggressive tumours

Pigini, Paolo (2019) Neuroblastoma targeted therapy: employment of CRISPR gene-editing to explore relevant markers and potential targets in aggressive tumours, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare, 31 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/8752.
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Neuroblastoma is a tumour originating from the sympathetic nervous system, and represents the most common extracranial solid cancer in childhood. Despite the malignancy is extremely heterogeneous, about 25% of all cases is characterized by MYCN-gene amplification, aggressive tumour and poor survival. The network of genes that are deregulated in this group of patients represents a focal point for targeted-therapy discovery. Along this research line, the first objective of the present project was to investigate the prognostic significance of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in the promoter of ODC1, a neuroblastoma prognostic marker involved in polyamine biosynthesis. The SNP genotype was first associated with survival of a large cohort of patients with aggressive neuroblastoma. Then, CRISPR-editing revealed that the SNP genotype affects ODC1 expression and proliferation of neuroblastoma cells. At last, the SNP was found to influence cell sensibility to DFMO, an ODC1 inhibitor that is currently under trial for treatment of aggressive neuroblastoma. The second objective was to investigate the role in neuroblastoma development and progression of RUNX1T1, a poorly studied transcription repressor involved in distinct development events and cancers. Survival analysis of a cohort of neuroblastoma patients revealed that RUNX1T1 is a potential oncosuppressor. In apparent contrast, RUNX1T1 knockout by CRISPR-editing demonstrated that the gene promotes aggressiveness of neuroblastoma cells. Transcriptome analysis of the mutant cells then evidenced deregulation of a significant number of genes and pathways that are prognostic markers in neuroblastoma, therefore depicting a multifunctional regulation network that could be exploited for new therapies. The third and last objective was to test a novel therapeutic approach based on MYCN-amplification targeting via CRISPR-cleavage. In vitro experiments demonstrated that the system efficiently and specifically impairs the survival of aggressive neuroblastoma cells, thus providing a proof of principle for the development of an innovative therapy.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Pigini, Paolo
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
neuroblastoma crispr cas9 editing mycn amplification odc1 snp dfmo runx1t1 tcf12 signaling wnt pi3k neural-crest targeted-therapy
Data di discussione
3 Aprile 2019

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