A team of scientists from Princeton University and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey has embarked on a major new project to unravel the secret lives of cancer cells that go dormant and self-cannibalize to survive periods of stress. The work may help produce new cancer therapies to stem changes that render cancer cells dangerous and resistant to treatment.
"We want to know: What role is this self-cannibalization playing in the middle of a tumor?" said team member Hilary Coller, an assistant professor of molecular biology at Princeton. "To treat cancer, it may be that you want to get rid of this ability in tumor cells, so we're searching for inducers and inhibitors of this process."
Eileen White, associate director for basic science at CINJ, Coller and Princeton chemist Joshua Rabinowitz recently received a $1 million National Institutes of Health Challenge Grant through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to support the research effort, which is made possible by the longstanding partnership between Princeton and CINJ. The two institutions recently formalized their relationship when Princeton officially joined CINJ as a scientific collaborator to enhance current investigations and foster future work at the frontier of cancer research. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey's only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
For more than 50 years, scientists have known that significant differences exist between the metabolic processes of normal and cancerous cells. These processes encompass the complex set of chemical reactions that control everything from converting food into usable energy to manufacturing cellular components for growth and reproduction. But the causes and consequences of these metabolic differences remain largely unknown -- and the possibilities for exploiting these differences as po
|Contact: Kitta MacPherson|