Narendra Wajapeyee has degrees in chemistry, biotechnology and cancer genetics. The Assistant Professor of Pathology at Yale University is bringing his learning together now to study lung cancer cells.
He was awarded the 2013 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Young Investigator Award for his project, “Targeting metabolic drivers of lung cancer.”
Wajapeyee and two other candidates were awarded research funding for two years after competing with a global pool of applicants. Applications were evaluated by an international scientific review panel for their merit, innovation and potential impact on the management of lung cancer. The goal for IASLC is to reward scientific excellence and to encourage innovative research in lung cancer prevention and translational medicine worldwide.
“Research funding from IASLC will allow me to address an important high-risk, high-reward idea and I thank IASLC for choosing my project for funding,” Wajapeyee says.
In his proposal, Wajapeyee explains that studies have indicated that metabolic pathways are different in lung cancer cells from that of normal cells. However, which of these altered metabolic pathways are needed for the growth, progression and survival of lung cancer cells is not known. Therefore, he plans to perform experiments to identify metabolic pathways whose activity is essential for the survival of lung cancer cells.
“The approach will include experiments to first identify metabolic genes that are necessary for the survival of lung cancer cells, understand how they function to promote lung cancer growth and metastasis, as well as to test a subset of the most promising candidates using cell culture and mouse model of lung cancer to evaluate their clinical utility for the treatment of lung cancer,” he says.
Wajapeyee hopes his research will identify new genes that are necessary for the survival of lung cancer cells and identify new drug targets for effective treatment of lung cancers.
“If we can identify an effective method of treatment, it will allow us to help treat and save lives of a large number of cancer patients,” he says.