Dazhong Xu, Ph.D.
Fascinated by the pervasive nature of cancer which affects the lives of so many, regardless of age, sex, or socioeconomic background, and equally interested in how environmental factors lead to carcinogenesis, Dazhong Xu, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology at New York Medical College, says lung cancer research— which combines both his research interests— became the perfect arena in which he could make a difference. “Lung cancer is particularly devastating as the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. This is also the cancer that is heavily influenced by environmental, habitual, and occupational exposures to carcinogens,” he explains.
As a 2018-2019 Touro College and University System (TCUS) Bridge Grant recipient, the grant which seeks to sustain research projects between larger grant funding, Dr. Xu’s fascination has led his research aimed at understanding the mechanism of lung carcinogenesis in order to develop ways to prevent and treat lung cancer.
“One of the major causes of lung cancer is genomic instability, manifested as gene mutations, gene deletions, chromosome abnormality, etc. These changes can occur both spontaneously or as a result of the exposure to carcinogens” he explains. “My research project focuses on a protein called Gene 33 (also named Mig6 and ERRFI1). This protein is a known tumor suppressor in the lung, by regulating several important cellular pathways in the cytoplasm.”
In a recently published paper, Dr. Xu’s study shows that this protein also has a previously unknown nuclear function in maintaining genomic stability. He explains, “This new function may contribute significantly to the tumor suppressing function of this protein. This study is to further define the molecular mechanism of this new function and its role in lung carcinogenesis in response to lung carcinogens.”
“We believe that this line of research will lead to novel insights into the mechanism of lung carcinogenesis and identification of potential new targets for therapeutic intervention. Our long-term goal is to improve lung cancer therapy and prevention.”