Local scientist, Dr. Chuan He, is hoping to accomplish a lot with the research grant he was awarded this past November. Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research announced that Dr. He received $400,000 to support the leukemia research he is conducting at the University of Chicago, part of a collaborative effort with fellow researchers in New York and Chicago.
He has already made some amazing progress in his research, and this grant will help expand his research goals to help the foundation’s mission of developing better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for leukemia and lymphoma.
Chicago Health News Examiner Brandi Walker interviewed him recently about his grant and how it will impact the health industry.
1. Who are the scientists that are working with you in conducting this research? Professor Ari Melnick from Weill Cornell Medical College and Professor- Ross L. Levine from Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
2. What types of treatments do you hope to develop with your research? If protein targets can be identified small molecules that tune the activity of relevant proteins may be developed as drug. New markers that accurately assign the sub-type of leukemia for more effective treatment is also something promising.
3. What is some of the amazing progress that you’ve made in your leukemia research? My laboratory has invented the most powerful tools to pin down the exact location of demethylation intermediate in human genomic DNA. This technology advance is key to understanding the demethylation of DNA in leukemogenesis.
4. What do you hope to accomplish in the future with this grant? Human genomic DNA is modified through a process called methylation. This modification is dynamic and contributes significantly to pathogenesis of several types of leukemia. The goal of this research is to understand for the first time the exact patterns of de-methylation (the removal of the dynamic methylation on DNA) in misprogramming observed in certain leukemia. Thus, the mechanism of leukemogenesis can be elucidated.
5. What impact do you think this grant will have in the health industry? Amongst leukemia victims? Since the de-methylation process of human genomic DNA appears to be a major factor in leukemogenesis, this research will: i) reveal the fundamental mechanism for the leukemogenesis to provide rational therapeutic targeting of these patients; ii) more accurate diagnostic and prognostic markers.
For more information on the Foundation’s grantees and their research, please visit www.gabriellesangels.org.