Akt promising target for cancer treatment, but which one?

Akt is one of the most frequently stimulated oncoprotein in human cancers and whose activation often elicits chemoresistance, making it a promising target for treatment. However, there are three Akt isoforms, and it is unclear which one of them, either individually or in combination, could be inhibited systemically for cancer therapy without severe adverse consequences. Akt, also known as protein kinase B, is a key element of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway that regulates…

Continue Reading

COVID-19 forced Zink out of lab, but cancer research didn’t stop

A pandemic has not stopped University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Katherine Zink from trying to find a cure for ovarian cancer, or from simultaneously earning a doctorate degree in natural products chemistry. The recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Zink was forced to physically distance herself from the laboratory of her mentor, Laura Sanchez, for nearly three months…

Continue Reading

DOD grant trying to close gap between Black and white men with prostate cancer

Larisa Nonn has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to understand why a large gap exists between Black and white men being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Black men contract the disease at a younger age, the growth is more aggressive in nature, and causes twice as many deaths.  “Given the younger age and more aggressive the disease, it is likely there are biological underpinnings of prostate cancer distinct in African…

Continue Reading

Sanchez using mass spectrometry before, not after, ovarian tumors grow

Mass spectrometry is often used to detect the precise location of cancer after a tumor has formed. Laura Sanchez’s research is heading her in the opposite direction, utilizing the technology’s chemistry before a tumor grows so that drugs can be used to more successfully treat the disease in areas that may have been overlooked. Sanchez, PhD, a member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program and assistant professor of pharmaceutical…

Continue Reading

Sun developing new strategy to prevent, treat colon cancer

University of Illinois at Chicago researcher Jun Sun is developing a new strategy to restore host-microbe relationships that can potentially prevent and treat colon cancer.The gut microbiome, a newly discovered “organ” that aids in the body’s digestion of food, metabolism, immune function and brain health, plays a critical role in the maturation and continued education of the host immune response, said Sun, PhD, AGAF, FAPS, professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University…

Continue Reading

Small device could have big impact in ovarian cancer research

The small, handheld device Alexandria Young is helping create may look unusual and rudimentary to some, but she believes it has the ability to save the lives of women suffering from high grade serous ovarian cancer, the most lethal form of gynecologic cancer.A MD/PhD student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Young is assisting researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University and Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in producing…

Continue Reading

microRNAs could be used to predict treatments for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is a tricky disease to treat, as it is hard to know which patients have aggressive tumors and which do not. Morgan Zenner is hoping a new test she is developing will change that. Zenner, a MD/PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research service F30 award from the National Cancer Institute to determine how microRNAs in extracellular vesicles circulating in the…

Continue Reading

Early immune response may improve cancer immunotherapies

In a paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers and colleagues report a new mechanism for detecting foreign material during early immune responses. Viruses, bacteria and cancer have many ways to replicate and survive in our bodies. For viruses and bacteria, they invade a cell directly to avoid detection. Cancer cells have the advantage of being native in the body. However, the body has safeguards against such…

Continue Reading

Hay named AAAS fellow

University of Illinois Cancer Center member Nissim Hay, PhD, was named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his advancement of science applications that are regarded as scientifically or socially distinguished. Hay, distinguished professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and co-leader of the UI Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program, was elected for his breakthroughs in understanding the role of…

Continue Reading

Kim’s work could uncover new therapeutics to treat some lung cancers

University of Illinois Cancer Center member Jiyeon Kim has been awarded a V Scholar Grant to conduct research on how fructose-mannose metabolism impacts tumor growth and aggressiveness in non-small cell lung cancer. Fructose – or fruit sugar – consumption increases the risk of colorectal cancer in mice, while mannose – a simple sugar related to glucose – does the opposite, slowing cancer growth in the animals, said Kim, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry…

Continue Reading