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Publications of the Week

Tumors Overcome the Action of the Wasting Factor ImpL2 by Locally Elevating Wnt/Wingless

By June 16, 2021No Comments

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This week, we profile a recent publication in PNAS from Jiae Lee (pictured, lower right)
in the laboratory of Young Kwon (outer right) at UW

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?
My lab uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study cancer-related processes, such as cachexia and metastasis. Cachexia is the wasting syndrome observed in cancer patients. It is a deadly disease that remains an unmet medical need with no effective cure available. We have established a Drosophila model allowing us to study the mechanisms underlying cachexia using the advanced genetic tools available in Drosophila. Taking advantage of this novel model, my lab is currently attempting to address a few fundamental questions in the field. We have previously addressed how tumors induce wasting in host tissues and our recent study questions why tumors are not wasted away even though tumors induce wasting in host tissues by secreting wasting factors. Additionally, we aim to address how tumors communicate with host tissues to support their growth and metastasis.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?
In the publication, we attempted to address how tumors evade self-wasting. We have found that 1) tumors employ a mechanism to evade wasting, 2) perturbing the mechanism impairs tumor growth, and 3) promoting the mechanism in muscle prevents the muscle from wasting induced by tumors. Thus, our study brings new concepts to the field and provides an idea to develop an effective strategy for treating certain types of cancers causing cachexia.

What are the next steps for this research?
We are interested in understanding whether targeting a similar mechanism is a way to treat cancers and cachexia in human cancer patients.

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