Samuel Rowbotham, a post-doctoral fellow, is a recipient of the IASLC Lung Cancer Fellowship Award for 2014-2015 and will be studying under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Carla Kim at Boston's Children Hospital, also a member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Lung Cancer Program.
In Dr. Rowbotham's project entitled Identifying novel epigenetic regulators of lung tumor propagating cells he will identify novel genes that make non-mutational (epigenetic) changes to other genes thus affecting the expression of these latter genes that are markers of self-propagation on lung cancer cells. He will then test the ability of these novel genes to control the growth of self-propagating (stem) lung cancer and normal cells in vitro. Finally he will test the function and ability of these genes to control cell growth, tumor formation, and metastasis of lung cancer stem cells in animal models.
Epigenetic therapy is a growing area of interest for drug development, and this study will contribute to the understanding of epigenetics in lung cancer by identifying epigenetic regulators. These identified regulators may be targetable with drugs and thus their identification and control with drugs may have a meaningful effect on inhibiting the growth of lung cancer stem cells.
Dr. Rowbotham is very enthusiastic to begin his studies and to present his findings at upcoming scientific meetings. He notes that this award will afford him the opportunity to gain valuable skills and secure an academic position where he will develop new ways to contribute to a better understanding of lung cancer.