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Dr. Rostomily and colleagues are studying the molecular regulation of gliogenesis—the formation of glial cells—to determine how the differentiation and biological behavior of glial progenitor (stem) cells relates to the formation and behavior of glioma tumors. Many of the basic properties of glial progenitor cell behavior that are disrupted in developmental disorders are the same properties relevant to glial tumor biology. Abnormalities of migration, differentiation, and cell survival and proliferation are fundamental disruptions of glial cell development that are also likely to be aberrant in gliomas. The identification of defects in differentiation that lead to tumors will provide insights into gliogenesis relevant to developmental disabilities. In addition, Rostomily and colleagues hope a better understanding of how oligodendroglial progenitor cells involved in myelination respond to the toxic insults of radiation therapy will lead to advances in neuroprotection.
Dr. Rostomily and his research group are currently investigating the molecular biology of skull-base tumors to devise better treatment strategies, such as gene therapy, for patients with unresectable or maximally radiated tumors.
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