Tuomas Tammela, M.D., Ph.D.

Tuomas Tammela, M.D., Ph.D.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Investigating Role of Enzymes in Cancer Gene Amplification in Lung Cancer

Lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), the most common lung cancer subtype, is commonly driven by mutations in the Kras gene. These mutations are detected in approximately 30 percent of LUAD tumors, and effective therapies against them are lacking. We will test whether inhibitors that target mutant Kras, soon entering clinical trials, can intercept early LUAD tumor growths in the mouse lung. We propose to use sophisticated lung cancer models to discover new ways of intercepting lung cancer at its earliest stages, much before it becomes a clinically detectable disease. Such approaches could be developed into effective means of preventing lung cancer.


In the first year of our study we were able to identify candidate mechanisms that may promote lung cancer formation by alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells harboring KRAS mutations. Furthermore, we made progress towards constructing models that enable us to investigate the potential of such KRAS mutant AT2 cells to give rise to lung cancer later in life or in response to lung injury. These two milestones are promising initial steps towards identifying molecular mechanisms that promote lung cancer initiation.

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