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Mount Sinai researchers awarded 'Provocative Questions' grant from National Cancer Institute
Date:9/20/2012

s and increase the efficacy of therapy for Wnt-activated human cancers. We are honored to be recognized by the NCI for our efforts in this area."

Provocative Question: How does obesity contribute to cancer risk?

Research has shown a distinct connection between obesity and cancer risk, but the mechanism behind that risk is unclear. With support from the NCI grant, Dr. Cagan's laboratory will create a model of pancreatic cancer in fruit flies to learn the molecular signatures that predict how a tumor responds to diet-induced obesity. Dr. Cagan's team will also perform a genetic screen on fruit flies to learn which genes promote tumor growth. Armed with this information, Dr. Cagan's team will test a variety of drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine which ones may prevent diet-related tumor growth.

"The fact that high-sugar diets cause tumors to become more aggressive is long-established, but we still do not know why," said Dr. Cagan. "This NCI grant will allow us to better explore the pathways that link obesity to enhanced tumor growth and to explore whether compounds that address this link are potentially useful as treatments. We appreciate the opportunity to take a non-traditional approach to an old question."

The Provocative Questions grant will support the research of Drs. Aaronson and Cagan for five years. They will each receive $351,713 in the first year. Allocations for subsequent years are to be determined.

The Provocative Questions program seeks to identify and solve perplexing problems facing cancer research. It is intended to build on specific advances in the understanding of cancer and cancer control; address broad issues in the biology of cancer
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