Elnaz Atabakhsh, PhD
Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2014-2016)
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Gene Mutation Makes Lung Cancer Less Responsive to Treatment
We are studying the function of a protein called KDM4A in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). KDM4A helps regulate how genes are organized. We found when KDM4A is over-produced in cells there are specific alterations to the organism's DNA. These alterations result in selection of regions involved in cancer drug resistance. We have also identified a KDM4A gene variant that is associated with poor outcome in NSCLC patients. This variant also changes lung cancer cell sensitivity to certain drug treatments. We will study the impact of the genetic alterations caused by KDM4A overexpression and establish how KDM4A levels impact lung cancer cells' response to chemotherapy. Our research could identify new treatment options for NSCLC patients.