Beckham, an assistant professor of Urology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Wilmot Cancer Institute, treats patients for bladder cancer and other urological diseases, and conducts research in RNA biology. Her study suggested that a type of RNA molecule may potentially serve as a biomarker for bladder cancer as part of a panel of molecules.
PLOS ONE recently notified Beckham of the high activity; It reported her paper has been viewed more than 6,000 times, and 38 percent of the views resulted in downloads of the article.
Beckham’s lab investigates long non-coding RNA (IncRNA), a diverse class of RNA molecules. Researchers showed that a particular IncRNA known as HOTAIR is enriched in the urinary exosomes of patients with high-grade, muscle-invading bladder cancer. The paper also suggested that HOTAIR could be a promising target for treatment, as scientists were able to show that by knocking out the expression of the HOTAIR gene in bladder cancer cells in the lab, they could reduce the cancer cell’s invasive traits.
HOTAIR has been previously shown to play a significant role in tumor initiation and progression in many cancers, particularly breast cancer. Her research not only raised the importance of HOTAIR in bladder cancer, but the lab also used RNA sequencing to identify four additional IncRNAs in the urinary exosomes of patients with that disease. Further investigation is required, however, as scientists move forward to develop RNA-based therapies. Read the full study here.
Beckham is funded by the Wilmot Cancer Research Fellowship Program and the URMC Clinical & Translational Science Institute.