Koichi Kobayashi, M.D., Ph.D.
Texas A&M Health Science Center
Funded by LUNG FORCE
Targeting Two Mutations to Develop New Lung Cancer Therapies
Cancer is characterized by rapid cell growth and proliferation, frequently caused by mutations of oncogenes such as KRAS. However, rapid growth alone is not sufficient for cancer development. Cancer cells need to escape from the immune system in order to grow, develop and metastasize. The most important anti-cancer immune responses are based on the HLA class I genes, which identify dangerous cancerous cells and inform the immune system. Our group recently discovered the NLRC5 gene is critical for the regulation of HLA class I genes. We also found NLRC5 function is frequently impaired in cancers, causing immune escape. We will study how impaired NLRC5 function and mutations in oncogenes work together using our lung cancer animal model. The study may lead to the development of new therapeutics and may provide a method to predict prognosis of patients.
Update: We found that impaired NLRC5 function and mutations in oncogenes synergistically work in lung cancer development using a mouse model. Our data suggest that these molecular events co-operate to promote lung cancer progression, leading to poor clinical outcomes in lung cancer patients.