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Mobile, Ala. (May 16, 2006)
Contact: Paul Taylor, (251) 461-1509

USA Mitchell Cancer Institute Investigator Presents Findings And Receives National Cancer Institute Award To Continue Research

 
Dr. Jingfang Ju, head of the genomics laboratory at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, is looking at minute parts of our genetic makeup in an effort to answer a big question – “What causes cancer?”
 
Dr. Jingfang Ju
Ju and his colleagues are examining the p53 gene, a well-documented tumor-suppressor gene, and the intricate interaction this gene has with small segments of RNA molecules called miRNAs. Mutations in p53 are found in most tumor types and contribute to the complicated network of molecular events influencing gene expression that ultimately lead to tumor formation.
 
In the course of their research, Ju and his team were the first to provide insight on how the p53 gene and miRNAs interact in influencing gene expression and how this gene is regulated at multiple levels.
 
According to Ju, p53 acts much like brakes on a car and has the ability to slow or stop cancer progression. “A better understanding of the interaction of miRNAs and p53 is an important step in developing new therapies in fighting cancer,” explained Ju.
 
His research findings were presented last month at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in Washington, D.C. The AACR meeting is the world’s largest and most comprehensive gathering of cancer professionals in the cancer field.
 
Ju’s research also appears in the April 1, 2006 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.
 
The National Cancer Institute recently awarded Ju a $263,300 research grant to develop novel technology to investigate the role of miRNA expression in regulating gene expression in cancer.
Ju joined the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute in 2004. He received his doctorate in molecular biology and biochemistry at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
Ju’s research focus is on four main areas: the development of novel technologies for genomic and functional genomic research; the discovery of predictive and prognostic markers for various human cancers and treatments using clinical trial samples; the investigation of the molecular and cellular mechanism of newly discovered translational regulated genes related to tumor progression and drug resistance; and the investigation of non-coding RNA functions in human cancer. He holds a U.S. patent and has two pending that relate to his work.
The overarching goal for the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute is to improve the lives of those impacted by cancer in our region through comprehensive cancer clinical care, and innovative basic and translational research. For more information about the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, visit http://www.usamci.com.
 
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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: May 22, 2006 12:19 PM
http://www.southalabama.edu/healthsystem/pressreleases/2006pr/051606.html