Principal Investigator: Ronen Sumagin, PhD; Co-Principal Investigator: Veronika Butin-Israeli, PhD
Immune cells called neutrophils protect our body against invading pathogens, but when they accumulate in tissue, they can also cause recurring injury to cells of the gastrointestinal tract. The resulting chronic inflammation in the colon is a hallmark of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). It is also a well-recognized risk factor for the development of colorectal cancer. Dr. Sumagin’s preliminary findings suggest that neutrophils may influence the transformation of normal cells into cancerous ones by increasing the occurrence of mutations, inhibiting the ability of cells to repair themselves and ultimately promoting cancer development. The team is focusing on specific mutations in the tumor suppressor gene TP53—the most frequently mutated gene in Colitis-associated colon cancer. The goal of this project will be to determine whether immune cell-mediated inflammation results in specific mutations in TP53 and to identify these mutations. If successful, this study will open the door to future prognostic biomarkers of inflammation-induced colorectal cancer. Funding will partially support the research personnel involved in this work and for purchases of essential reagents needed to complete these studies.