Researchers at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, led by Judith Davie, have been awarded a $445,500 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to aid in the mission against rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare yet devastating pediatric cancer.
Rhabdomyosarcoma emerges from DNA changes in normal skeletal muscle cells. The focus of the study is on TBX2, a transcription factor with a pivotal role. By uncovering the signaling pathway that activates TBX2 and revealing its influence on tumor suppressor genes, Davie's team hopes to develop innovative therapeutic approaches.
The research will involve DNA sequencing and tumor samples from patients, combined with meticulous laboratory experiments. Cutting-edge tools like CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and grafting cancer cells into mice will contribute to the understanding of tumor growth.
Davie's dedication to this cause began years ago, and her motivation remains steadfast as each child's story drives her efforts. "The loss of every child is a tragedy. The more we understand, the more we can help," she emphasizes.