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Rutka Lab

Research interests

Dr. Rutka’s laboratory has been studying the cytoskeleton as a means to increase our understanding of the mechanisms by which astrocytoma cells grow, adhere to surrounding substrates and invade normal brain tissue. Current studies are aimed at investigating how cytoskeletal matrix interactions lead to the profound cellular changes that we have observed through a detailed analysis of cell cycle gene alterations, metalloproteinase and inhibitor secretion and ultrastructural cytoskeletal relationships. Recent emphasis has been placed on the small Rho-GTPases as potential targets for inhibiting astrocytoma invasiveness. Dr. Rutka’s lab is actively exploring the application of novel technologies for tumour therapies including delivery of therapeutics to the tumour using gold nanoparticles and temporary disruption of the blood brain barrier with focused ultrasound to facilitate drug entry to tumour tissue while avoiding damage to normal brain tissues.

Dr. Rutka’s laboratory also focuses on childhood brain tumours. His laboratory personnel are studying the genetic changes in Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumours (ATRTs) and leveraging this information to identify drug candidates for preclinical testing. Additionally, Dr. Rutka’s lab is interested in developing new strategies of drug delivery to metastatic medulloblastoma and patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Specifically, the Rutka lab is adapting ultrasound technology to precisely target the tumours, open the blood brain barrier to permit drug access and deliver novel drug compounds attached to gold nanoparticles in these tumour types.