Grants - V Scholar Grants - Michigan - 2018

Russell Ryan, M.D.

Abeloff V Scholar*

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is a blood cancer that is currently treated with chemotherapy drugs. These drugs can be toxic, and do not work for all patients. Certain cancer-causing genes must be turned on in order for lymphoma cells to grow and survive. One new way to treat patients with lymphoma might be to find drugs that turn off the ‘switches’ that cancer cells use to turn genes on. This could potentially kill cancer cells without hurting normal cells.

We will study the proteins and DNA code that serve as a ‘switch’ to control two lymphoma-promoting genes, MYC and BCL6. We will use new technologies to learn how these genes are turned on, and how we can block this process. Some lymphomas contain errors in the DNA code (mutations) that alter these gene ‘switches’. We will compare the function of lymphomas with mutations to lymphomas with intact ‘switches’.

This project has two main goals. First, we seek to create new tests that can be used to find mutated gene ‘switches’ and guide lymphoma patient care. Second, we seek to find target proteins that could be used to create new lymphoma treatments.