Timothy Cook, Nathan J. Holthaus



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Glioblastoma multiforme is a devastating form of primary brain cancer that has a poor prognosis. The standard treatment is a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemo/immunotherapy, which has shown to be ineffective and ultimately results in the death of the patient. As a result, efforts should be made to identify better techniques or medicines that help slow down or prevent the growth of the tumor. Using glioma models, we studied different chemical inhibitors (drugs) that reduce tumor growth in Drosophila melanogaster models. This was accomplished by acting on the two most frequent oncogenic pathways shared between Drosophila and humans: Ras/MAPK and Pi3K. The primary focus was on tyrosine kinase inhibitors, key enzymes that are activated by oncogenic pathways, which have shown promise in previous drug screens. The study was conducted by collecting third instar larvae from a cross between two fly types – Pten RNAi , ras v12 and Repo GFP – which were then placed on food laced with 300 µM of the drug. We then dissected the larvae, mounted their brains, and imaged them using a fluorescent microscope. This allowed us to observe the glia in the brain lobes and ventral nerve cord to identify changes in the shape of the brain and the density of glial cells within the brain. From which, the effect of the drug on glioma growth and progression can be observed. As a result, we have developed a deeper understanding of the pathways that cause the development of brain tumors, which will allow for more successful treatments in the future.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Madhuri Kango-Singh, Pothitos Pitychoutis

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Finding Glioma Growth Inhibitors Using Drosophila Models