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Functional Dissection of Oncogenic Enhancers in T-ALL

Columbia University
Daniel Herranz, PhD
Grant Type: 
Young Investigator Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Leukemia, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Project Description: 


Following on the completion of the Human Genome Project and using innovative sequencing tools researchers are rapidly annotating the complete repertoire of genetic alterations in cancer. However most of these lesions are located in genomic "dark matter" outside of well-annotated genes.

Project Goal

In this research project we will develop state-of-the-art new tools to analyze the function of critical as yet un-annotated genomic sequences controlling the activity of MYC, a major cancer-driving gene.

These studies will shed light on the function and mechanisms of cancer-associated "dark matter" regions in the human genome opening new venues for the development of targeted therapies in human cancer.

Project Update - January 2021: PTEN is a gene in the human body. Losing expression of this gene is linked to the development of several different cancers. Dr. Herranz’s lab at Rutger Cancer Institute has identified a PTEN enhancer that is repeatedly deleted in people who are diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). This is the first long-range tumor suppressor enhancer to be implicated in cancer and suggests that understanding more about these enhancers is critical to beating this disease.

Read his lab's published paper here.