Pathway analysis of microRNA target genes in canine cancers

Advisor:
Geoffrey Wood (Pathobiology)

We have isolated and quantified microRNA from matched blood and tumour tissue of dogs with various cancers. This dataset also includes clinical outcome after cancer treatment as well as samples from healthy control dogs. Many miRs were differentially expressed between healthy and dogs with cancer and the specific miRs were different between different cancer types and between blood samples and tumour samples. We filed a provisional patent application on this discovery (US Provisional Patent Application # 62/166,393) and published some aspects of this work (Craig et al 2019, PLoS ONE https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226357).

Since microRNA are functional molecules with multiple target mRNA that they specifically inhibit, changes in microRNA expression lead to changes in protein expression. The goal of this project is to develop a pipeline that identifies known and putative target genes of the over and under-expressed microRNAs and predicts the GO terms and pathways that will be altered. This dataset will then be used to prioritize microRNAs as novel therapeutic targets using anti-miR delivery to cancer cells. Since microRNA genes are highly homologous across multiple species, it is likely that these findings will apply to humans and other mammals as well. All the raw data is collected for this project and is ready to analyze.