Determining whether there are Unique Protein Expression Patterns in Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors
Researcher: Daniel Chung, MD Location: Massachusetts General Hospital State: Massachusetts Year: 2005 Status: Finished
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To use proteomics to study carcinoid cancer and pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.
Dr. Chung’s research focuses on determining whether there are unique protein expression patterns in gastrointestinal (GI) neuroendocrine tumors that can provide novel insights into disease pathogenesis. Unfortunately, the current understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of GI neuroendocrine tumors lags far behind that of most malignancies.
With a research grant from the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation, Dr. Chung is performing proteomic analysis of carcinoid to address this critical gap in scientific knowledge. Analysis of the proteome is inherently more challenging than that of the genome, but the potential insights that can be gained are unobtainable through a gene-based approach. Proteomic technologies have also matured so that comprehensive and meaningful analyses of tumor samples are now realistic. GI neuroendocrine tumors lend themselves to this type of proteomic analysis because they are rather homogeneous in terms of their cellular composition.
Dr. Chung’s research will define the proteomic profile of neuroendocrine tumors relative to normal tissue. Dr. Chung will also address several other questions, such as whether there may be protein markers that can distinguish benign versus malignant disease, predict natural history, or serve as novel therapeutic targets.
Dr. Chung is in a unique position to perform his proteomic study of carcinoid because of the extensive tumor bank that he and Dr. Kulke created. Dr. Chung is also undertaking a gene array expression strategy. The combination of complementary data sets from Dr. Chung’s DNA microarray and proteomic approaches will be a powerful one.
Research Progress and Results:
Identified the role of two key proteins, the PDGF receptor and HOXC6, as novel targets in NETs.
The generous support from the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation has been instrumental to the success of Dr. Chung’s NET research program. His proteomic based project identified the role of two key proteins, the PDGF receptor and HOXC6, as novel targets in NETs.
In September 2008, Daniel Chung, M.D. of Massachusetts General Hospital published a paper supported by the work of the CFCF Bioconsortium and CFCF-funded researcher Matthew Kulke, M.D. of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Chung’s laboratory discovered that a protein called HoxC6 was dramatically up-regulated in gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors and that expression was low in normal tissues, indicating that the HoxC6 gene may play a role in carcinoid tumor development. Further studies revealed that HoxC6 is an important regulator of a signaling pathway that had not previously been implicated in neuroendocrine tumors.