WVU Cancer Institute’s Dr. Ivan Martinez and his lab will engage in collaborative research with their colleagues at The German Primate Center, part of the Gottingen University-Max Planck Institutes in Germany, later this year.
Dr. Martinez’s research on the role of RNAs in cancer development piqued the interest of Dr. Jens Gruber, professor at The Primate Center and his graduate student Nicolas Lemus, and they invited Martinez to their country recently to give a couple talks about his work at the Cancer Institute. They were especially interested in Martinez’s project related to the discovery of an alternative pathway of microRNA biogenesis. Part of this project was recently published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS, 2017).
MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that are very important in the regulation of genes in normal and cancer cells. MicroRNA biogenesis is a process by which these molecules form, reshape and become active in cells. Martinez’s lab discovered a different microRNA biogenesis process in dormant cells, meaning cells that are in a “resting” or “quiescent” state. This discovery is important in the cancer field because understanding in detail this new process could help develop new treatments against dormant cancer stem cells, which are known to be more resistant to cancer therapy and responsible for cancer relapse.
“Nicolas Lemus found our publication on PubMed and realized that our data were the “missing link” that clarified his experimental findings,” Martinez said. “My German colleagues were very happy because our publication helped them put together a better story of their data.”
The collaboration between Gottingen University and the WVU Cancer Institute will begin with a three-month visit by Lemus to the Cancer Institute to learn how to develop specific techniques established in Martinez’s laboratory.
The Council for Women's Concerns is accepting nominations for the Mary Catherine Buswell Award. This accolade, established in 1978, honors a person who has shown a dedication to the advancement of women. The award winner will receive $500 for travel, supplies, salary supplement or any other use commensurate with WVU policies. Nominations must be submitted by March 1.
The WVU Cancer Institute is joining organizations across the world to increase awareness of cervical cancer this January in recognition of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer diagnoses have increased the last 40 years as the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancerous cells before they become cancer.