Researcher Studies Gene Pathways Responsible for Metastatic Rhabdomyosarcoma
Study might lead to new therapies

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Rhabdomyosarcoma is cancer that develops in the skeletal muscles of children. It is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma diagnosed in children, and is most frequently found in the head, neck and extremities. Children who develop metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that has spread from the original tumor site to other areas of the body, have very poor outcomes. Jason Yustein, MD, PhD, from Baylor College of Medicine, believes that understanding how rhabdomyosarcoma cells become metastatic can lead to new therapies to improve the odds for these children.

It is believed that poor outcomes are a result of a lack of understanding of the genes and pathways involved in metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma. Dr. Yustein will explore what genes are changed when cancer spreads and what genes are critical to this process in hopes that they can be altered to prevent and treat the metastatic disease.

  • Jason Yustein, MD, PhD
  • Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Yustein will conduct his research by using genetically engineered mice that have a higher likelihood of developing metastatic tumors in order to study the biology of the disease. By studying mice with rhabdomyosarcoma, he believes he can track the development of the cancer, and identify the genes responsible for the disease's progression and subsequent metastasis. Dr. Yustein will use these findings to study critical genes and pathways that are altered in the disease development and progression. He believes these studies will provide significant advancements for understanding how these tumors become metastatic and by further understanding this process, new therapies can be developed to prevent and treat metastasis.

Dr. Yustein is funded for two years through the CureSearch Young Investigators Program. CureSearch is excited to provide regular updates on Dr. Yustein's research.

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