The 2011 Fight Colorectal Cancer-AACR Fellowship, in memory of Lisa Dubow, has been awarded to Jon H. Chung, PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
His proposed research is Hedgehog Pathway Targeted Therapeutics for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.
With the award, Dr. Chung will study alternatives to the traditional Hedgehog signaling pathway in colon cancer cells. He will explore crosstalk within the cell between the Hedgehog and Wnt pathways and screen for drugs that block both pathways at the same time, potentially stopping cancer development.
He will also be looking at how Hedgehog interacts with DNA damage pathways, research that could lead to treatment that would destroy metastatic cancer cells.
The Hedgehog signaling pathway has recently emerged as another key player in colorectal carcinogenesis and this pathway is progressively activated during metastasis. The switch to Hedgehog pathway activation that occurs as tumors metastasize presents an opportunity for developing therapies for metastatic colorectal cancer. My project will focus on targeting the Hedgehog pathway.
Hedgehog is a gene that is critical to the development of the human embryo. Signals controlled by the gene direct cells to differentiate or express themselves as different parts of the body with different functions. However, when Hedgehog expression isn’t normal, its changes can lead to cancer, particularly cancer that spreads to distant sites (metastasizes).
Recently, drugs to treat colorectal cancer that directly inhibit the Hedgehog pathway have been disappointing. Dr. Chung is taking a new and different look at Hedgehog signals, particularly when they interact with other important colorectal cancer pathways.
Dr. Chung is is a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Radiation Oncology & Molecular Radiation Sciences.
He attended the University of Cambridge where he received his BA and MSci degrees in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) in 2002. In 2006, he completed his PhD at the University of Manchester. After finishing his PhD, he started postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Fred Bunz at Johns Hopkins where he has been investigating DNA damage checkpoint and p53 responses in colorectal cancer cells.
Dr. Chung has published research in:
- PLoS Genetics, Cdk2 Is Required for p53-Independent G2/M Checkpoint Control,February 6, 2010, e1000863.
- Cell Cycle: Checkpoint bypass and cell viability, Volume 9, Issue 11, February 26, 2010.
Lisa Dubow lived nine years after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. She credits clinical trials and cutting-edge research for her long survival. The Lisa Fund, which she helped establish, supports researchers who are dedicated to developing treatments for patients with late stage colorectal cancer.
You can help support innovative research like Jon Chung’s with a gift to the Lisa Fund.