Jinjun Shi, Ph.D.

Institution: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc.

Project: Making Lung Cancer Responsive to Treatment for Other Cancers

Grant(s): Lung Cancer Discovery Award

Current research for new lung cancer treatment relies on the development of drugs that inhibit molecules that are overproduced in cancer, such as mTOR. While mTOR inhibitors, such as the drug everolimus (Afinitor), have been approved for several types of cancers, they have shown limited benefit in lung cancer treatment. The tumor suppressor gene p53 is frequently lost or mutated in lung cancer. We will explore how restoring the tumor suppressor gene p53 could sensitize lung cancer cells with loss of p53 functions to everolimus. We hope that a better understanding of targeting p53 and mTOR will lead to the development of novel combination therapies for better treatment of lung cancers.

Update:

The tumor suppressor gene p53 plays a critical function in preventing cancer. We have made substantial progress in testing and understanding the antitumor efficacy of p53 synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) along with different chemotherapeutics including everolimus, and developing a unique nanoparticle platform for co-delivery of p53 mRNA and drugs to lung cancer cells. We have also made exciting discoveries about the p53 antitumor effect, particularly in lung cancer cells with wild-type (non-mutated) p53. This could result in a much broader application of p53 mRNA nanomedicine in lung cancer treatment.

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