Tumor Initiation and Maintenance Program

fluorescently stained skin cancer sample

How cancer begins

Cells become cancerous after acquiring a series of mutations in their DNA, which occur as a result of exposure to radiation, cigarette smoke, dietary components or a genetic predisposition.

Mutations may intensify or eliminate the messages cells use to grow, stop growing or die. Cells then begin to divide too often and are unable to die, forming tumors. Identifying the mutations, signals and mechanisms that promote and sustain tumors creates new opportunities to target human cancer.

Director's statement

We’ve brought together scientists with expertise in developmental and stem cell biology with investigators who focus on RNA biology and the signaling pathways that regulate cell growth and cell fate. The diversity of our faculty members, along with our shared interests in what drives cancer cell growth, is fostering strong interactions that will lead to breakthrough treatments for brain, breast and prostate cancers, as well as melanoma and leukemia.

– Robert Wechsler-Reya, Ph.D., Program Director

Appointments

Publications

EGFR-Pak Signaling Selectively Regulates Glutamine Deprivation-Induced Macropinocytosis.

Lee SW, Zhang Y, Jung M, Cruz N, Alas B, Commisso C

Dev Cell 2019 Aug 5 ;50(3):381-392.e5

Lsd1 as a therapeutic target in Gfi1-activated medulloblastoma.

Lee C, Rudneva VA, Erkek S, Zapatka M, Chau LQ, Tacheva-Grigorova SK, Garancher A, Rusert JM, Aksoy O, Lea R, Mohammad HP, Wang J, Weiss WA, Grimes HL, Pfister SM, Northcott PA, Wechsler-Reya RJ

Nat Commun 2019 Jan 18 ;10(1):332

Gut microbiota dependent anti-tumor immunity restricts melanoma growth in Rnf5-/- mice.

Li Y, Tinoco R, Elmén L, Segota I, Xian Y, Fujita Y, Sahu A, Zarecki R, Marie K, Feng Y, Khateb A, Frederick DT, Ashkenazi SK, Kim H, Perez EG, Day CP, Segura Muñoz RS, Schmaltz R, Yooseph S, Tam MA, Zhang T, Avitan-Hersh E, Tzur L, Roizman S, Boyango I, Bar-Sela G, Orian A, Kaufman RJ, Bosenberg M, Goding CR, Baaten B, Levesque MP, Dummer R, Brown K, Merlino G, Ruppin E, Flaherty K, Ramer-Tait A, Long T, Peterson SN, Bradley LM, Ronai ZA

Nat Commun 2019 Apr 2 ;10(1):1492

Characterization of G-CSF receptor expression in medulloblastoma.

Paul MR, Huo Y, Liu A, Lesperance J, Garancher A, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Zage PE

Neurooncol Adv 2020 Jan-Dec ;2(1):vdaa062

PTEN and DNA-PK determine sensitivity and recovery in response to WEE1 inhibition in human breast cancer.

Brunner A, Suryo Rahmanto A, Johansson H, Franco M, Viiliäinen J, Gazi M, Frings O, Fredlund E, Spruck C, Lehtiö J, Rantala JK, Larsson LG, Sangfelt O

Elife 2020 Jul 6 ;9

Golgi Acidification by NHE7 Regulates Cytosolic pH Homeostasis in Pancreatic Cancer Cells.

Galenkamp KMO, Sosicka P, Jung M, Recouvreux MV, Zhang Y, Moldenhauer MR, Brandi G, Freeze HH, Commisso C

Cancer Discov 2020 Jun ;10(6):822-835

Zika Virus Targets Glioblastoma Stem Cells through a SOX2-Integrin α<sub>v</sub>β<sub>5</sub> Axis.

Zhu Z, Mesci P, Bernatchez JA, Gimple RC, Wang X, Schafer ST, Wettersten HI, Beck S, Clark AE, Wu Q, Prager BC, Kim LJY, Dhanwani R, Sharma S, Garancher A, Weis SM, Mack SC, Negraes PD, Trujillo CA, Penalva LO, Feng J, Lan Z, Zhang R, Wessel AW, Dhawan S, Diamond MS, Chen CC, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Gage FH, Hu H, Siqueira-Neto JL, Muotri AR, Cheresh DA, Rich JN

Cell Stem Cell 2020 Feb 6 ;26(2):187-204.e10

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