Research Project: Distinguishing Different Subgroups of Lung Cancer to Improve Treatment
Lung Cancer Discovery Award
basic biologic mechanisms
Precision medicine that predicts response to treatment of lung cancer has improved quality and length of patients’ lives. Still, despite initial response to the treatment cancers eventually come back. To improve precision and efficacy, it is critical to distinguish different subgroups of lung cancer by additional features. Our group has investigated a molecular feature on factors that control cell identity. This study builds upon one of our findings that suggest distinct subtypes of lung cancers utilize a common factor to control their identity. This suggests that these distinct lung cancer subtypes may be more closely related, or the distinction is not as clear as previously thought. We will determine the function of this factor in each of these subtypes to understand their difference and similarity, and to understand the true relationship between those two subtypes. As the treatment strategy for small cell lung cancer vastly different from that for non-small cell lung cancer, the findings can have significant impact on how we approach these cancers.
Building upon our initial findings, we have established a cell-based system for genetically manipulating the function of this common lineage factor using the genome editing technology CRISPR-Cas9. We have also made significant progress on how this factor binds to DNA to regulate their targets in two different lung cancer subtypes; small cell lung cancer and squamous cell lung cancer. These newly established systems will be used to profile systematically how they are impacting their cell identities.