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Cancer

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What is cancer?

There are many types of cancer; even so, all cancers have the same origin: our cells. Normally our cells divide, develop, and die in strict accordance with “rules” that govern their behavior. However, damage to a cell’s DNA can create mutations in the genetic code that produce cells that divide when they shouldn’t and continue living when they should die. These abnormally dividing “immortalized” cells grow to form tumors and can spread -- or metastasize -- to other areas of the body through the blood and lymph system.

How is NIH Common Fund ARRA-funding advancing cancer-related research?

NIH Common Fund ARRA funding is supporting several projects aimed at furthering our understanding of fundamental cellular and molecular processes implicated in cancer, such as protein modification, genetic regulation, and others, and using this knowledge to cover new biological markers of cancer, identify new molecular targets for treating cancer, and develop new tools to predict patient responses to specific chemotherapeutic agents.

Researcher Research Description
Dr. Stephen Vernon Frye
University Of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Dr. Stephen Vernon Frye and colleagues are developing small, drug-like molecules targeted to proteins that regulate how the DNA code is accessed and utilized in the different cell-types of the body. The chemical probes designed, synthesized and validated in this proposal will have applications in the discovery of molecular targets to treat diseases such as cancer, and in the development of safe stem cell based therapeutics (1RC1GM090732-01). This project is managed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
Dr. Marc Wallace Kirschner
Harvard University (Medical School)
Dr. Marc Wallace Kirschner and colleagues are using a newly developed mass spectroscopy technique to accurately measure the levels of 1,000 proteins, and to detect and quantify all the modifications to these proteins in several types of cells. These data will increase our understanding of protein behavior, especially in cancer cells, and provide a new route to developing biological markers of disease (1RC4GM096319-01). This project is managed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
Dr. Gregory Prelich
Albert Einstein College Of Medicine Yeshiva University
Dr. Gregory Prelich and colleagues are identifying small molecules that inhibit the process of SUMOylation which modifies particular proteins and alters their activity in cells. SUMOylation occurs in proteins that are involved in cancer, neural degeneration, microbial infection, and the immune response (1RC1DA028786-01). This project is managed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Dr. Sohail F. Tavazoie
Rockefeller University
Dr. Sohail F. Tavazoie and colleagues are using an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to discover molecular markers that predict patients’ responsiveness to chemotherapeutic agents used to treat colorectal cancer.
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