• Press Release

Scientists Led by Mount Sinai and Sema4 Identify Biomarker for Progression and Drug Response in Brain Cancer

Accurately subtyping glioblastoma tumors could lead to diagnostics and precision therapy

  • New York, NY
  • (October 16, 2017)

Scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Sema4, and collaborating institutions including Colorado State University and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center reported results today from a glioblastoma study in which they validated a biomarker indicative of a patient’s prognosis and likely response to specific therapies. The article appeared in the October 15 issue of Cancer Research.

Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive and heterogeneous form of brain cancer, with a median survival time from diagnosis of just one year. Previous efforts to classify glioblastoma tumors into molecular subtypes for precision treatment have been largely unsuccessful. In this study, scientists developed an innovative computational method to classify tumors based on their dependency on a molecule, known as BUB1B, that some glioblastomas need to survive. The project revealed new tumor subtypes and found that BUB1B-sensitive tumors had significantly worse prognosis but were more likely to respond to many drugs already in clinical use.

“It was truly remarkable to see our predictive model yield a new set of molecular subtypes, which appear to be far more indicative of prognosis and therapeutic response than existing subtypes,” said Jun Zhu, PhD, Head of Data Sciences at Sema4, Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Mount Sinai, and senior author of the paper. “For patients who receive the grim diagnosis of glioblastoma, this signals new hope for tailored treatment more likely to be effective against their cancer.”

“This research is an outstanding example of how theoreticians working with complex datasets, and clinicians on the frontlines of patient care, can collaborate to uncover new insights into cancer biology that will directly impact clinical decision-making,” said Raymund Yong, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who made a significant contribution to tumor samples, glioma stem cells, and in vitro experiments in the paper.

Eric Schadt, PhD, Sema4 CEO and Dean for Precision Medicine at Mount Sinai, added: “These findings underscore the significant potential we see to improve patient outcomes by investing in predictive modeling of even the most complex types of cancer. We look forward to building on this collaborative project and moving toward development of a diagnostic test that could help physicians better understand and treat their patients’ glioblastoma cases.”

Paper cited: Lee E et al. Sensitivity to BUB1B inhibition defines an alternative classification of glioblastoma. Cancer Research, doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-0736

About the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is an international leader in medical and scientific training, biomedical research, and patient care. It is the medical school for the Mount Sinai Health System, an integrated health care system which includes seven hospitals and an expanding ambulatory network serving approximately 4 million patients per year.

The School has more than 1,800 students in MD, PhD, and Master’s programs and post-doctoral fellowships; more than 5,600 faculty members; over 2,000 residents and fellows; and 23 clinical and research institutes and 34 academic departments. It is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per principal investigator. The School was the first medical school in the country to create a progressive admissions approach for students who seek early assurance of admission through the FlexMed program. For more information, visit http://icahn.mssm.edu or find the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and LinkedIn

About Sema4
Sema4 is a next-generation health information company, spun out of the Mount Sinai Health System, that provides advanced genomic testing and merges big data analytics with clinical diagnostics.  Our team creates practical tools that help patients, clinicians, and researchers better diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. We are striving to construct a more comprehensive picture of health by integrating three key elements: a wealth of clinical experience that informs the answers that patients and providers are seeking, the world-class academic research that illuminates new directions, and the pioneering information science that puts all the pieces together. 

For more information, please visit sema4genomics.com and connect with Sema4 on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

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About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system encompassing seven hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 10 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of 3 medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 13 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in four other specialties in the 2017-2018 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked in six out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and 50th for Ear, Nose, and Throat, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.