Funded in memory of Bob Moonan
Of the cancers that affect both men and women, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Interestingly, evidence from the clinic links disruption of normal 24-hour rhythms with many diseases including a higher risk of cancer. Our internal clock controls sleep/wake cycles, feeding and metabolism and disruption of the clock has been reported in several cancer types, including colon cancer. Yet, the precise process of clock disruption in colon cancer remains undefined. We are interested in cells that have the ability to initiate tumors because these cells have been found to be treatment resistant. We propose to determine how loss of the clock can promote colon cancer by changing the cues that direct these cells that initiate cancer. To accomplish this, we have generated a mouse model to understand the effects of clock disruption on cell growth in the intestine. We propose that disruption of both the clock and loss of cues that control normal cells in the intestine can result in colon cancer. The goal of these studies is to provide new directions towards clock-dependent treatments that can target colon cancer.