Suppression subtraction hybridization (SSH) is an unbiased method for comparing gene expressions of two tissues or samples. The method identifies genes that are exclusively expressed by a particular group of cells and has been successfully used to identify genes expressed in breast cancer, lung adenocarcinoma, melanoma and other cancers. The advantage of the technique is that novel genes can be identified in addition to known genes. SSH has not previously been used for analysing expressed genes in CLL, but our lab has successfully used SSH method in other settings and will now use it to identify genes that are exclusively expressed in B-CLL cells. We will use blood samples stored in our tissue bank as a source of B-CLL cells and normal B-cells that will be isolated using the FACSAria II cell sorter and subjected to SSH. We will then compare molecular profiles of leukemic and normal B cells at different time points for each patient to identify novel genes involved in the transformation of asymptomatic CLL into aggressive disease.
This project is a joint research effort with Associate Professor Stuart Berzins’ group who are studying other immune cells that may have an important role in the development and progression of CLL.