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Role of lineage-specific oncogene TITF1 in lung cancer

Institution: Stanford University
Investigator(s): Kevin Kwei, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2008 (Cycle 17) Grant #: 17FT-0062 Award: $74,500
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract
In 2007, lung cancer caused an estimated 160,390 deaths in the U.S. and 13,220 deaths in the state of California, making it the leading cause of death due to cancer. Despite the advances in cancer treatments in recent years, the increase in survival rate for lung cancer remains one of the lowest among all cancers, a mere 22% improvement since the 1970s. These statistics highlight the particular need for more comprehensive understanding of the molecular basis of lung cancer and the importance in finding novel and effective targets for therapy.

In order to discover new therapeutic targets, our laboratory had performed large scale genomic profiling of tumor samples to discover common genetic alterations that cause lung cancer. We were able to discover a lung cancer specific genetic alteration involving a gene called TITF1. We have demonstrated that turning down this gene can cause tumor cells to stop growing in vitro.

The focus of the current proposal is to understand how the gene regulates tumor cell growth. We would like to determine the biological processes that are involved and potentially discover new targets for therapeutic intervention.