Charles Kaufman, MD, PhD - 2016 Young Investigator Award
"Epigenetic control of melanoma initiation"
Awarded a $75,000 Young Investigator Award
I am proposing to use a remarkable melanoma model in zebrafish using a florescent green protein to mark and characterize the first cells of melanoma at a level of detail not achievable in other settings and also to alter the timing of melanoma onset to teach us about the mechanisms that control its initiation. The zebrafish is a small, fast- growing, and highly fertile vertebrate organism that shares more than 70% of its genes and most major cell types and organ systems with humans. As a model system, the zebrafish will allow us to capture the first cells transitioning to melanoma and to study the earliest events in cancer onset. While a number of remarkable new treatments have recently become available for melanoma, these therapies very rarely cure patients whose disease has spread. If we better understood how melanoma begins at a molecular level, then we could detect these changes earlier when melanoma is curable with simple excision. Eventually, we could aim to interrupt this process with a drug, so the melanoma never gets started. The ultimate goal of this project is to allow doctors to detect and treat melanoma skin cancer at the earliest time possible.
"I owe a great deal to the Cancer Research Foundation for giving me a head start. This financial help made the difference between my getting a fast and successful start, and my other wise struggling to obtain the necessary funds to get my research program started."Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D.
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and Human Genetics University of Chicago
April 30, 2010