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Lung Cancer: Drugs May Block Metastasis-Driving Protein

Conquest - Summer 2011

 

Jonathan Kurie, M.D. (left), mentored
Yanan Yang, Ph.D., postdoctoral 
fellow, in the discovery of the role 
of the Jagged2 protein.
Photo: Wyatt McSpadden

Researchers have discovered a new, key component in the spread of lung cancer in the protein Jagged2 — which silences protective microRNA (miR-200) — as well as a likely way to block it with drugs now in clinical trial.

“We think metastasis is initiated by the tumor microenvironment,” says Jonathan Kurie, M.D., professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology and senior author on the paper.

“Cells metastasize in response to external cues, one of which is Jagged2,” says Yanan Yang, Ph.D., Kurie’s postdoctoral fellow and the study’s first author.

Reported in the March 14, 2011, edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center