Philadelphia -- Wistar scientist, Ronen Marmorstein, Ph.D., has been awarded a $322,000 three-year grant from the American Cancer Society. The funds will be used to support his research into the structure and function of proteins involved in the development of a variety of human cancers.
Lung, breast, brain, bone, skin, bladder, kidney and ovarian cancers all share a common characteristic -- the gene regulating the activity of P16INK4, which fastens itself to the CDK4 inhibitory protein, is either deleted or mutated. The consequence of this genetic alteration is that the P16INK4 protein does not interfere as it should with tumor growth.
"Because of its key role in the development of tumors," explains Dr. Marmorstein, "the CDK4 protein is an excellent target for anti-cancer therapies." His laboratory's findings on the structural properties of the P16INK4 protein are expected to provide a framework for the design of P16INK4 imitations that can be used in the treatment of cancers caused by abnormal CDK4 activity.
The Wistar Institute, established in 1892, was the first independent medical research facility in the country. For more than 100 years, Wistar scientists have been making history and improving world health through their development of vaccines for diseases that include rabies, German measles, infantile gastroenteritis (rotavirus), and cytomegalovirus; discovery of molecules like interleukin-12, which are helping the immune system fight bacteria, parasites, viruses and cancer; and location of genes that contribute to the development of diseases like breast, lung and prostate cancer. Wistar is a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center.