Genetic Models of Ewing sarcoma
Ewing’s sarcoma occurs when pieces of two chromosomes break and abnormally fuse together, creating a novel, aberrant protein called EWS-FLI1. EWS-FLI1 then acts in an unknown way to cause the cell to become cancerous, starting the process that leads to a Ewing's sarcoma tumor. Current treatment of children with Ewing's sarcoma, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, can be very successful but at the price of causing severe side effects. Clearly, there is a tremendous need for better approaches.
My laboratory uses the zebrafish system to illuminate the cellular function of EWS-FLI1. Our goal is to understand how EWS-FLI1 causes cancer and to identify new treatment approaches that directly inhibit the function of EWS-FLI1. This is the key to developing more effective, less toxic treatments for Ewing's sarcoma. In this POST project, Nikit Venishetty will use special genetically-engineered strains of zebrafish to study which cell types in the organism are the most vulnerable to developing Ewing’s sarcoma. The results could lead to better methods to detect Ewing’s sarcoma in children and to new treatment approaches.