Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, PhD

Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, PhD

The University of Vermont

Research Project:
Preventing Increase in Antioxidant to Boost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Treatment

Grant Awarded:

  • Lung Cancer Discovery Award

Research Topic:

  • basic biologic mechanisms

Research Disease:

  • lung cancer

The environment of lung tumors is hostile, requiring tumors to adapt to be able to survive and grow. Part of this adaptation is a change in metabolism that increases the antioxidant glutathione to combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between your body’s antioxidant defenses and the production of oxidants, which can potentially damage your cells. We will study how this increase in glutathione occurs and offer new strategies to prevent the increases in glutathione from happening. We will test whether this strategy can be used to augment the therapeutic efficacy of the chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin.

We have discovered a new pathway that involves a specific type of protein oxidation induced by glutathione (termed glutathionylation). This pathway can be targeted by drugs and is used by tumors to further increase glutathione pools to withstand oxidative stress and cisplatin-induced tumor killing. We are studying how this occurs. Our research has the potential to offer new strategies to enhance chemotherapy/immunotherapy responsiveness in lung cancer.

Page last updated: September 12, 2023

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