Advancing Brain Tumor Research in Central Texas
The Austin Brain Tumor Repository (ABTR) at St. David’s Medical Center (SDMC) was established to facilitate the collection, storage and distribution of primary brain tumor tissue and paired blood samples (not required for routine medical care) donated by patients undergoing surgical resection. The mission of the ABTR is to provide SDMC researchers, their collaborators, and outside institutions with the opportunity to use donated specimens suitable for research that will advance our understanding of brain tumors in the areas of genetics, cell biology, biochemical engineering, and drug discovery.
The tissue collection is maintained in a -80 degree C freezer, which is optimal for long-term storage of tissues intended for use by molecular biologists. In addition to DNA samples for partial and whole-genome sequencing, the tissue samples are suitable for RNA extraction (i.e., for gene expression studies) and protein assays.
The ABTR will distribute tissue specimens to qualified researchers with Institutional Review Board approved research studies and will never distribute donated tissue for financial gain. Please also note that priority in tissue sample loans will be granted to SDMC researchers and their immediate collaborators. Please contact the ABTR program manager for additional information.
Please contact the Office of Research if you have interest in collaboration: Info@stdavidsresearch.com
Austin Brain Tumor Repository has been instrumental in supporting several research projects involving collaborations between St. David’s Medical Center and The University of Texas at Austin. Some recent projects includes:
Epigenetics of Glioblastoma multiforme
Vishy Iyer’s lab at UT Austin conducted a study of the regulation of gene expression in brain cancer cells by identifying modifications of histone core proteins that are associated with either up or down-regulation of adjacent genes. Many of the observed chromatin marks are found to be consistent with patterns of tumor-specific gene expression, some of which resemble those of stem cells and the regulatory cascades characteristic of early developmental pathways. The results of this study are currently under review.
Inference of Tumor Genotypes from Deep Sequence Data
The research team of Peter Mueller (UT Austin) has developed a Bayesian algorithm for reconstructing multi-point genotypes using short reads (fragments) sampled from different cells in a tissue. We collaborated with Dr. Mueller to optimize this algorithm on ultra-deep sequence data (1000x rather than 100x average coverage) from Glioblastoma samples in the ABTR. The improved algorithm gave more robust inferences of tumor genotypes from deep sequence data than existing algorithms, and inferred several subclonal genotypes from within the GBM tumors. The results of this study were recently submitted to the Proceedings of the Midwest Biopharmaceutical Statistics Workshop.