|Grant ID: RR180071|
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
August 24, 2018
Wilms tumor is the most common type of kidney cancer found in children and most often occurs under age 10. It’s fairly rare—only about 500-600 children are diagnosed every year—and treatable with a high success rate. But many childhood survivors of Wilms tumors deal with lifelong consequences from the toxicity of the treatment. They are more likely to develop future cancers and less likely to go to college, hold a job, or marry, than kids who have not had childhood cancer.
A pediatric oncologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center wants to improve treatments for Wilms tumors to give survivors the same potential for a full life as their peers. Dr. Kenneth Chen, M.D., has been at UT Southwestern since he started medical school, and stayed to become an instructor in pediatrics. A First-Time Tenure-Track Award from CPRIT in 2019 has allowed this talented physician-scientist to remain in Texas as an assistant professor of pediatrics.
Dr. Chen is interested in a type of genetic material, called microRNAs, which help regulate the expression of other genes during development. In about a fifth of Wilms tumors, there are mutations in the genes coding for the microRNAs. Dr. Chen wants to understand how these mutations are involved in cancer development and look for ways to therapeutically intervene.