MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bakhos A. Tannous, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Director, Experimental Therapeutics and Molecular Imaging Lab Director, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Center
Director, MGH Viral Vector Development Facility
Massachusetts General Hospital
Charlestown, MA 02129
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Tannous: In recent years, it has become apparent that, in addition to their role in promoting blood clotting, platelets take up protein and RNA molecules from tumors, possibly playing a role in tumor growth and metastasis. Working with our collaborators Dr. Thomas Wurdinger and Pieter Wesseling at the VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we found that the RNA profiles of tumor-educated platelets – those that have taken up molecules shed by tumors – can
(1) distinguish healthy individuals and patients with six different types of cancer,
(2) determine the location of the primary tumor and
(3) identify tumors carrying mutations that can guide therapeutic decision making and personalized medicine.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Tannous: Analysis of tumor RNA carried in platelets – blood components best known for their role in clotting – may prove to be more useful than other “liquid biopsy” technologies for diagnosing cancer and determining its primary location and potential therapeutic approaches.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Tannous: RNA content of tumor-educated platelets should be explored for cancer diagnosis, subtyping, and guiding personalized medicine.
RNA-Seq of Tumor-Educated Platelets Enables Blood-Based Pan-Cancer, Multiclass, and Molecular Pathway Cancer Diagnostics
Best, Myron G. et al. Cancer Cell
Bakhos A. Tannous, Ph.D (2015). Some Platelets Can Recognize Type and Location of Tumors