Eileen White, PhD, associate director for basic science at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and colleagues from Princeton University have been awarded a new five-year, $2.4 million dollar research grant (1R01CA 163591-01) from the National Cancer Institute. The funding will support research to identify metabolic vulnerabilities of particularly aggressive cancers - those with mutations in the Ras cancer gene. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS).
Led by principal investigators Dr. White and Joshua D. Rabinowitz, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, the project is an extension of a collaborative effort between their two laboratories. That work, which has examined cancer metabolism, was initially funded through a National Institutes of Health Challenge Grant.
For nearly half a century, it has been known that altered metabolism distinguishes cancer cells from normal cells. Only recently have scientists learned that activation of cancer genes and loss of tumor suppressor genes reprograms cell metabolism. With this altered metabolism, cancer cells acquire the ability to make building blocks for production of new cancer cells and produce the energy needed for cancer growth.