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RNA Rules: The Many Faces and Functions of Ribonucleic Acids

Long overshadowed by its more famous DNA cousin, RNA is enjoying a molecular renaissance. RNA serves as a middleman between DNA templates and protein machinery. However, RNA molecules have catalytic activity of their own (a discovery for which Thomas Cech, Ph.D., and Sidney Altman, Ph.D., won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989). And small segments of RNA can silence the gene expression of their brethren (a discovery for which Craig Mello and Andrew Fire won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2006). Researchers are even learning how to create entirely new types of RNA molecules. Today, CCR investigators are exploring and reinventing the roles of RNA in health and disease. Read more about the many faces and functions of ribonucleic acids »

Precision in Targeting with Anti-Mesothelin Therapies

Early clinical trials are validating mesothelin’s potential as a selective cancer target. These trials are increasingly showing that mesothelin-directed agents can be used effectively in mesothelioma and have the potential to treat other malignancies, including ovarian, lung, and pancreatic cancers. Hassan and Pastan hope that these new agents will do for solid tumors what precision therapies are already achieving in various blood cancers. Read more about precision targeting with anti-mesothelin therapies »

Tools of the Trade

Among the best ways to accelerate scientific progress is through the direct sharing of data, tools, and biological materials. Within CCR, most laboratories are contributing directly to this greater scientific good by developing resources for their fellow scientists. Here we profile a few of the many examples of CCR investigators providing cells, techniques, and data sets that are having a worldwide impact on the study of cancer. Read more about the scientific tools of the trade »

Influence of a Master

In 1991, Shioko Kimura, Ph.D., Senior Investigator in CCR’s Laboratory of Metabolism, cloned the transcription factor Thyroid-specific enhancer binding protein (T/EBP) based on its ability to bind to an enhancer region in the promoter of the thyroid peroxidase gene. NKX2-1, as the 38-κDa protein is now known, plays a central role in early development of the lung, thyroid, and ventral forebrain; its expression is also associated with cancers of the lung and thyroid. Kimura’s laboratory has made several genetically engineered mouse models that she has shared with the research community, while continuing to focus her interests on development and cancer of the thyroid and lung. Her laboratory has discovered a molecule downstream of NKX2-1, secretoglobin (SCGB) 3A2, on which they have recently filed patents for its therapeutic potential. Read more about NKX2-1, the master regulator »


Photo of Robert Wiltrout, Ph.D. Photo of Lee Helman, M.D.

The Long View

In this issue, our patients are often here because they have no other options and their prognosis is far from good. So the urgency to translate research into improved patient care is always a priority.


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Gut Check: A Career in Colon Cancer Research

Sanford Markowitz, M.D., Ph.D., is the Markowitz-Ingalls Professor of Cancer Genetics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

In the Clinic

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Adopting Bodily Defenses
to Cure Cancer

Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of CCR’s Surgery Branch, is a genuine pioneer in the development of immunotherapies for cancer.…

Photo of Edgar MacIntosh

Immunotherapy’s First Cure

Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D. used interleukin-2 (IL-2) to treat advanced metastatic cancer…


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