3 QUESTIONS ON… How Tumor Cells Grow With Maria Fomicheva of Vanderbilt University
Maria Fomicheva (Kaverina lab) is featured in the April 20, 2021 issue of Oncology Times.
CRISPR (which stands for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats”) is a genome screening tool that allows researchers to edit or delete individual genes—as well as identify the specific genes in the body responsible for certain traits. Now researchers have used the technology to identify a genetic switch that may induce cancer cell division (and thus, tumor growth). The protein they identified, TRAF3, may play a role in 80-90 percent of cancers. Further research is needed to better understand what causes TRAF3 to be disrupted, but the current findings could play an important role in better understanding the mechanisms of cancer cell behavior.
“It is important for us to understand the mechanisms that control this kind of cell behavior,” noted the study’s lead author, Maria Fomicheva, who is a graduate student in the lab of Ian Macara, PhD, the Louise B. McGavock Chair and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University.
The research was conducted at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and additionally funded by the National Cancer Institute. The study was published in the journal eLife (2020; doi: 10.7554/eLife.63603). In an interview with Oncology Times, Fomicheva shared her thoughts about the research.