A novel marker (RAMP) for detection, diagnosis and prognosis of human brain cancer.



Retinoic acid-regulated nuclear matrix-associated protein (RAMP) was originally identified in our laboratory and demonstrated to be down-regulated during retinoic acid-induced neuronal differentiation of human embryonic carcinoma, NT2 cells. Recent studies further indicate that RAMP is associated with: (i) enhanced metastatic potential of hepatocellular carcinoma; (ii) the growth of breast cancer cells; and (iii) gastric cancer development.

Methodologies are sensitive enough to detect early-stage tumours, particularly tumours of the brain, are invaluable diagnostic tools since they can offer patients a higher chance of survival. This is due to the fact that brain tumors are very difficult to diagnose as their symptoms often mimic other diseases. In fact, the current average survival rate for a patient with malignant brain cancer is 1-2 years postdiagnosis, while patients diagnosed with late-stage cancer only have a 33% chance of surviving.

Several molecular and histopathological prognostic markers have been proposed for the therapeutic stratification of medulloblastoma patients. For example, overexpression of the ERBB2 oncogene has been associated with progressive diseases. In contrast, high TrkC mRNA expression generally implicates longer survival. In this project, we aim to utilize our team’s expertise in molecular biology to evaluate RAMP expression in brain tumors and develop methods of using RAMP as a molecular marker for histopathological diagnoistic and prognostic procedures. These tests will be made available to physicians and oncologists to evaluate patients presenting symptoms that may be due to a brain tumour.


The current standard detection method for brain cancer includes physical examination, histological analysis of biopsies, and imaging. These methods are inadequate. They are unable to detect early-stage tumours, and by the time a patient is diagnosed with a malignant tumour the survival rate has dropped to ~ 1-2 years.

Potential industrial partners covers companies that focus on brain tumor drug development.

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