Dr. Shulin Li – Translational Science Research Grant

Dr. Li

 MD Anderson Cancer Center

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Dr. Li is improving the quality of life and survival rate for children with neuroblastoma.  Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood, considered to be the ‘seeds’ of tumor metastasis, are rare cells that detach themselves from primary tumors and travel in the blood as residual disease, potentially colonizing as metastases in distant organs. Therefore, capture and detection of CTCs may serve as a tool for early detection of residual disease, relapse, and metastasis. While available CTC detecting markers such as EpCAM and cytokeratins are
ineffective for neuroblastoma (NB), innovative tools for universal CTC detection are needed. Dr. Li has discovered that cell surface vimentin (CSV) protein is present on the surface of CTCs but not normal cells in peripheral blood in patients using an antibody 84-1 generated from the researcher and a CSV CTC analysis system developed in the MD Anderson lab. The goal of this study is to explore this tool for CTC analysis in NB patients. The two specific aims are:

  • Identify the risk of tumor relapse at an early time point afterDonate
    clinical remission in NB patients by determining the threshold CSV CTC number or the change
    in CSV CTC number.
  • Monitor treatment response to maintenance therapy in NB patients
    after clinical remission using change in CSV CTC number.