The Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), TGen's affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich., joined TGen in conducting the JAK2 study.
The JAK2 protein can activate the gene called STAT3, part of a family of genes that provide instructions for making proteins that are part of the essential chemical signaling pathways that control growth and development in cells. STAT3 has been found to be overactive in cases of several types of cancer, including breast, prostate, pancreas, leukemia and lymphoma.
In laboratory tests involving seven NSCLC cell lines, the TGen-VARI study found that STAT3 was activated in some cell lines by JAK2, independent of key oncogenic, or cancer-causing mutations.
"JAK2-STAT3 signaling plays crucial roles in tumor-cell behavior that may not be effectively inhibited by drugs that selectively target these mutations," Dr. Weiss said. "This suggests that there may be a potential role for combination therapy, so you have a better chance of knocking out a NSCLC tumor, or keeping it at bay."
Dr. Jeff MacKeigan, Head of VARI's Laboratory of Systems Biology, said this yearlong study, funded by a TGen-VARI integration grant, should benefit future lung cancer research because of the study's clinically annotated tissue microarray.
"Our human tumor samples may be used for meaningful exploratory research on other key signaling pathways in NSCLC," MacKeigan said.
|Contact: Steve Yozwiak|
The Translational Genomics Research Institute