Grants - Virginia - Designated Grants - 2017

Hui Li, M.D.

Funded in partnership with St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma is one of the most common children tumors. Traditional dogma is that a particular molecular event is unique to the tumor, like a “signature”. We recently found the same event in normal cells, with a physiological function. This discovery raises the possibility that the tumors initiated from the same cells that harbor this “signature” fusion during normal development. Like fingerprints at a crime scene, this molecular event is giving us clues about the process of tumorigenesis. We will figure out the meaning of this signature molecular in normal development and how its’ going awry will drive rhabdomyosarcoma. In addition, cells at the same development stages harbor several other fusions that are also present in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. One of the newly identified fusions led us to uncover a potential new oncogene, which drives the tumor. Our finding will not only lead to better understanding of the tumor, but also have the potential for uncovering new treatment for the disease.

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