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Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Awards granted for pioneering ideas in cancer research
Date:2/2/2011

s well as ways to better target existing therapeutics to individual patients' cancers.

Benjamin P. Tu, PhD
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

Despite decades of research, how cell growth and proliferation are coordinated with the metabolism in a cell has remained a critical unresolved question. Understanding these specific mechanisms would address the long-standing question of how cells assess their metabolic and nutritional state to decide when to proliferate.

Dr. Tu has discovered a key mechanism by which carbon sources, such as glucose, signal cells to grow and divide; these studies were conducted in the model organism, baker's yeast. His goal is to investigate these mechanisms in mammalian cells and determine whether such mechanisms can be exploited to selectively kill rapidly proliferating cancer cells. He also aims to explore whether novel, unconventional metabolic strategies might be highly effective for the treatment of a variety of cancers.

Matthew G. Vander Heiden, MD, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Nutrient metabolism in cancer cells is different from that in most normal cells. This metabolic difference has not yet been exploited for therapy.

Dr. Vander Heiden aims to rigorously define how altered cell metabolism contributes to cancer cell proliferation; he seeks to elucidate exactly how nutrients are used by cancer cells. This approach will lead to a better understanding of how specific metabolic pathways are used to help cancer cells grow, and holds the key to targeting metabolism for better cancer treatments.


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Contact: Yung S. Lie, Ph.D.
yung.lie@damonrunyon.org
212-455-0521
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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