Grants - Illinois - Designated Grants - 2016

Megan McNerney, M.D., Ph.D.

V Scholar Plus Award- extended funding for exceptional V Scholars

Each year over 50,000 people develop a myeloid blood cancer in the United States alone. Some of these cancers have lost all or a portion of genetic material on chromosome 7 [known as -7/del(7q)]. These patients are difficult to treat. The survival for these patients is less then one year. -7/del(7q) also occurs in half of therapy-related myeloid cancers (t-MN), which arise as a side effect of cancer treatment. There is clearly an urgent need to develop new therapies for this disease. The long-term goal of the current work is to improve the outcome for patients with myeloid blood cancer. I used new technology to identify an important gene on chromosome 7, called CUX1. CUX1 normally puts the brakes on cell growth. My lab is identifying CUX1-regulated pathways that may be drug targets. We are establishing animal models of myeloid cancers for testing new therapies. The significance of this work is not limited to blood cancer. A wide range of tumor types also has CUX1 deletion. Thus, our work on CUX1 will guide our knowledge of the role of CUX1 in cancer in general.