Lindsay LaFave, PhD

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the United States and lung adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer. While genetic mutations contribute to the development of cancer, cancer cells also activate gene programs over time that allow the cancer cells to become more aggressive and harder to treat. Advanced lung cancer cells evade current treatments such as chemotherapy or therapies that target the immune system. In our work, we have found that late-stage lung cancer cells expressed a unique transcription factor that activates gene programs which permit cancer cells to spread throughout the body. Of note is that these cancer cells also release molecules which we believe signal myeloid cells to enter the tumor. In doing so, the myeloid cells cause the immune system’s T-cells to be less effective and reduce how well current treatment strategies work. We seek to understand how late-stage cancer cells facilitate disease progression and how they limit response to current therapies. We have generated new mouse models which will allow us to investigate the gene programs that are active in these advanced cancer cells and to determine how these cells become resistant to therapy. Overall, our goal is to identify new options for targeting late-stage cancer cells which could be combined with, or used in place of, current treatment strategies so that we can increase how long patients with lung cancer live and improve their quality of life.

Location: Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center - Bronx
Proposal: Investigating chromatin-mediated mechanisms of chemo-immunotherapy resistance in lung cancer
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