|Grant ID: RR180050|
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
August 24, 2018
On one end of the spectrum of genetic mutations that can lead to cancer is a single DNA base pair out of place, while at the other end is a wholesale reordering of one or several chromosomes. Exactly how these genomic alterations come about and promote cancer development is the focus of research for Peter Ly, a cancer biologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Ly was recruited in 2019 from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he was a postdoctoral researcher in cancer cell biology. A First-Time Tenure-Track Award from CPRIT enabled Ly to return to his Ph.D. alma mater, UT Southwestern.
One well-studied example of how genomic rearrangements can cause cancer involves a swap of genetic material between two chromosomes (9 and 22), known as the Philadelphia chromosome. This rearrangement generates a hybrid protein that becomes stuck in the “on” position, interrupting the stability of the genome and causing the cells to divide uncontrollably. Most cases of leukemia arise from this mutation. Fortunately for those patients, the drug imatinib blocks the action of this aberrant protein and is one of the most clinically beneficial anti-cancer drugs currently on the market.