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Stem cell signals in the initiation and progression of lung cancer

Institution: University of California, San Diego
Investigator(s): Alison Barber,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 30) Grant #: T30FT0904 Award: $137,550
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract
To identify new therapeutic targets for tobacco-related cancer, we have focused on stem cell programs that are reactivated in lung cancer. Previously, we demonstrated that the stem cell signal Musashi-2 (Msi2) is highly upregulated during liquid and solid cancer development and that its blockade can inhibit tumor growth and progression. This work was important because it identified a new role for Msi2 as a key regulator of cancer progression in vivo and as an early indicator of poor prognosis. Recently we have found that Msi2 may also be important in the progression of non-small cell lung cancer, which suggests that targeting Msi2 may provide a new strategy for therapy. In this study, we will further investigate the role of Msi2 in non-small cell lung cancer as well as whether Msi2 might also be important in small cell lung cancer. To move this work forward to the clinic, we propose to test the efficacy of novel inhibitors of Msi2 against cancer growth. These studies have the potential to identify a new class of therapeutics for devastating tobacco-related lung cancers that are largely unresponsive to current therapies.