Associate Professor, Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia Group Leader, Latvian Biomdical Center, Riga, Latvia
Prof. Aija Linē is the head of Cancer Biomarker group, the scientific director of Latvian Biomedical Research and Study center and professor at University of Latvia in molecular genetics and immunology. She obtained her PhD at the University of Latvia in 2002 on the identification and characterization of tumor antigens recognized by B cells. During her PhD and post-doctoral studies she undertook several training periods at Nottingham Trent University to study the molecular alterations underlying their immunogenicity. In 2004 she established her group focusing on the discovery of circulating cancer biomarkers. Currently, her research interests are focused on the extracellular vesicles as a source of cancer biomarkers for liquid biopsies and therapeutic tools for the treatment of cancer. She has published 55 peer-reviewed article cited >10700 times, her H-index is 26 and she has been a speaker at >20 international conferences.
Comprehensive characterization of RNA cargo in EVs from a longitudinal
cohort of breast cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are gaining increased attention as carriers of cancer-derived molecules for liquid biopsies. Here, we studied the dynamics of EV levels in the plasma of breast cancer (BC) patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) and explored the relevance of their RNA cargo for the prediction of patients' response to the therapy. EVs were isolated from serial blood samples collected at the time of diagnosis, at the end of NAC, and 7 days, 6, and 12 months after the surgery from 32 patients with locally advanced BC, and 30 cancer-free healthy controls (HCs) and quantified by nanoparticle tracking analysis. The pre-treatment levels of EVs in BC patients were higher than in HCs, significantly increased during the NAC and surgery, and decreased to the levels found in HCs 6 months after surgery, thus showing that a substantial fraction of plasma EVs in BC patients are produced due to the disease processes and treatment. RNA sequencing analysis revealed that the changes in the EV levels were associated with the alterations in the proportions of various RNA biotypes in EVs. BC-derived biomarker candidates were identified among mRNAs, miRNAs, lncRNAs, snoRNAs, piRNAs, snRNAs, and tRFs. Several biomarker models for the detection and monitoring of BC and prediction of response to NAC were established. Furthermore, a number of RNAs that were induced by NAC in non-responders or patients with early disease progression were identified and warrant further functional studies on their role in chemo resistance and metastasis.