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A new tool to confront lung cancer
Date:6/19/2014

looking under the microscope at our tumors would not know it's from the mouse," said Oliver. "They visually look like human tumors, and then when we stain them for biomarkers of the human disease, our mouse tumors light up for those markers."

Unlike most previously existing lung SCC mouse models that develop multiple tumor types, the sox2/lkb1 model generates SCC exclusively. Combine this with the fact that it was created based on patient data makes the model clinically relevant, and well poised for testing novel targeted therapies.

"Beyond lung cancer, findings from this model may have important clinical implications for other squamous or Sox2-driven malignancies such as small cell lung cancer, and brain, esophageal, and oral cancers," said Anandaroop Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., Huntsman Cancer Institute scientist and lead author on the paper.

While there are no known drugs that directly target either Sox2 or Lkb1, there are existing therapies that interfere with biochemical pathways that are thought to be activated by these genes. What's more, the scientists found that these pathways, Jak-Stat and mTOR, were activated in tumors in the new mouse model. These findings suggest that the drugs that block these pathways, STAT3 and mTOR inhibitors, are good candidates for working as lung SCC targeted therapies.

"These are pathways that had not been previously explored for the treatment of squamous tumors because we didn't realize they were important," Oliver explained. "That gives us direction for testing the efficacy of drugs aimed at these pathways."


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Contact: Linda Aagard
Linda.Aagard@hci.utah.edu
801-587-7639
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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