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Tsai wins innovator award for plan to map molecular path to skin cancer
Date:4/8/2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A proposal to examine the cellular journey from normal skin, to precancerous lesion to skin cancer earned Kenneth Tsai, M.D., Ph.D., the Sixth Annual Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for Cancer Prevention Research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 in Washington, D.C., April 6-10.

An assistant professor in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Departments of Dermatology and Immunology, Tsai says the project will provide rare insight into the process that starts with normal skin and progresses to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

The award is one of six earned by MD Anderson faculty at this year's AACR meeting.

"Skin is ideally suited for this type of analysis because it's easily accessible for sampling. Furthermore, squamous cell carcinoma and its precancerous lesions are relatively common and well-defined clinically and histologically," Tsai said. "We don't have a good understanding of the genetic events that occur along the way."

"By identifying important genetic differences, we hope to find biomarkers of risk for the precancerous lesions, called actinic keratosis, and for skin cancer progression," Tsai said. "We ultimately aim to identify targets for chemoprevention at all stages and develop therapies for them."

In addition to identifying and effectively treating those at the greatest risk, another benefit would be identification of those who don't need intensive treatment or surveillance.

Normal skin, actinic keratosis and cancer samples from each patient

Skin cancer is the most common type of human cancer and is highly preventable. In the United States, there are more than 3 million cases annually. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is caused by ultraviolet light exposure, mainly from the sun, and comprises 15 to 20 percent of skin cancer cases.

Working with fellow dermatologists at MD Anderson and several other Houston practices, Tsai collects s
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-516-4855
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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