Jung-whan Kim, Ph.D.
Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2016-2017)
The University of Texas at Dallas
Funded by LUNG FORCE
Protein May Hold Key to New Treatments for Squamous Cell Lung Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of lung cancer accounting for 25-30 percent of all lung cancers. Most currently available targeted therapies are not effective for this type of cancer, and the prognosis of treating squamous cell carcinoma with conventional chemotherapies is poor. Therefore, it is imperative to identify molecular abnormalities that are uniquely associated with squamous cell carcinoma in order to develop new treatments. We have found that glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), a protein that uptakes cancer cell's major nutrient, glucose, is remarkably elevated in squamous cell carcinoma as compared to other types of lung cancer. We will test if elevated GLUT1 is an essential contributor to the growth of squamous cell carcinoma and if targeting GLUT1 or glucose consumption can stop the growth of this disease.
Update: Our research has shown that glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), is elevated in squamous cell carcinoma and is associated with enhanced glucose and cellular glucose metabolism, suggesting substantial glucose dependence and usage between squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. We also demonstrated that squamous cell carcinoma is more susceptible to glucose deprivation than adenocarcinoma. These observances suggest that the reliance of squamous cell carcinoma on GLUT1 can be exploited for the development of targeted therapeutic strategies for squamous cell carcinoma.