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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
30-Jan-2014

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Contact: Eric Sauter
esauter@scripps.edu
267-337-3859
Scripps Research Institute

Scripps scientist awarded $1.8 million to develop new approaches to lung cancer therapy

IMAGE: Joseph Kissil, PhD, is an associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute, Florida campus.

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JUPITER, FL, January 30, 2014 Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded approximately $1.8 million from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health to identify the signaling pathways that underlie lung cancer and to use this information to develop new therapeutic approaches.

Joseph Kissil, a TSRI associate professor, will be principal investigator of the new five-year grant, which extends a study that began in 2006.

Although death rates from lung cancer have fallen in the last 20 years, survival rates are still not good, largely because of a lack of effective treatments for advanced disease.

Kissil's research into non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease, has shown that a well-known cancer-causing gene implicated in a number of malignancies plays a far more critical role than previously thought. Activating mutations of the K-ras gene are found in more than a third of lung cancers.

"There are clear links between K-ras-induced lung cancer and the receptor known as Notch 1," Kissil said. "A loss of this receptor results in reduced tumor growth. The new grant will let us continue our research into Notch signaling pathways as potentially important therapeutic options for treatment of this disease."

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. In 2010, the most recent year these statistics are available, almost 300,000 American men and women were diagnosed with lung cancer.

The number of the new grant is 2R01CA124495.



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