Petersen Investigator Dr. Gigi Lozano: Working to unlock the mysteries of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Dr. Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D. of MD Anderson Cancer Center has worked tirelessly to understand how pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors develop so that we might use that knowledge to develop new therapies. NETRF has recognized Dr. Lozano as a Petersen Investigator and awarded her a 2016 grant, thanks to generous support from the Margie and Robert E Petersen Foundation.

The goal of Dr. Lozano’s current research project is to identify the cellular changes that occur when DAXX and ATRX gene mutations are present and how these changes lead to the development of neuroendocrine tumors. Dr. Lozano’s team has extensive experience in generating mouse models to study the effects of specific mutations on tumor development. Previous NETRF-funded researchers discovered mutations in the DAXX and ATRX genes in tumors from patients with non-functioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

Knowledge about how loss of DAXX and ATRX may bring about the development of neuroendocrine tumors is a first step towards the future development of targeted therapies. This project may also lead to the creation of animal models that can be shared, spurring collaboration among scientists, and enabling countless new NET research projects.

Dr. Lozano is the Chair of the Department of Genetics at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Rutgers University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also attended Princeton University for post-graduate work in molecular biology. Dr. Lozano has served on several National Institutes of Health panels and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research. She is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine.