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Pathways: UICOMP Researchers Taking Closer Look at Commonalities Between COVID-19 and Brain Cancer

Velpula Tsung

A team of UICOMP researchers in the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology had their work published in Cell Death and Disease published by Nature Publishing Group.

The work entitled “Galectin-1 activates Carbonic anhydrase IX and modulates glioma metabolism” is examining the commonalities of the spike protein present in COVID-19 and human Glioblastoma.

Galectin-1 is a type of animal lectin that binds preferentially to β-galactoside sugars. The team’s findings suggest that increased levels of Galectin-1 correlate with reduced survival in Glioblastoma patients, which supports the idea that it plays a significant role in the development of Glioblastoma. While the studies have focused on Glioblastoma and COVID-19, they are generally applicable to other types of cancer that express Galectin-1 signaling, such as melanoma, breast and bladder cancer.

The research team includes representatives from the Cancer Biology and Pharmacology Department – Maheedhara Guda, PhD, research specialist; Swapna Asuthkar, PhD, assistant professor; Kiran Velpula, PhD, assistant professor; and from the Neurosurgery Department – Andrew Tsung, MD, associate professor.

Some members of the UICOMP research team examining links between COVID-19 and brain cancer.

This article is part of the Summer 2022 edition of PathwaysRead the full issue.