Last week the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) announced the awarding of $1.62 million in funding for lymphoma research and lymphoma related training grants. Among the awardees were two Lymphoma Program research collaborators, Dr. Leandro Cerchietti and Dr. Pilar Dominguez Rodriguez.
Dr. Cerchietti is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Raymond and Beverly Sackler Research Scholar at Weill Cornell Medicine. He received a grant from the LRF for his work in predicting follicular lymphoma transformation without biopsy. For follicular lymphoma (FL) patients their slow growing tumor can turn into a much more aggressive follicular lymphoma that limits their treatment options. The mechanisms behind these transformations are poorly understood, but researchers are trying to better understand the mechanism of transformation. Currently invasive and expensive biopsies are the only way to determine whether a patient is at risk for follicular transformation. Based on his previous research Dr. Cerchietti has determined that FL cells release certain products into a patient’s body, and that these products in the bloodstream can be used to anticipate FL transformation. Dr. Cerchietti plans to build on his previous research and potentially develop new non-chemotherapy treatments for follicular lymphoma.
Dr. Dominguez Rodriguez is a Post-Doctoral Associate, who specialized in cancer biology in Dr. Ari Melnick’s lab at Weill Cornell Medicine. Her current research focuses on the ten eleven translocation 2 (TET2) gene. TET2 is associated with DNA methylation, a process involved in the regulation of certain genes. Previously in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) the deregulation of DNA methylation has been identified as a source of DLBCL cell growth. However, researchers are still searching for answers as to why the methylation mechanisms malfunction. TET2 could potentially be a link due to its role in DNA methylation and the fact that is frequently mutated in lymphomas. Dr. Dominguez Rodriguez project seeks to discover whether there is a relationship between TET2 and DNA methylation in B-cells, and then identify how TET2 affects the development of DLBCL. If this relationship can be established the findings have the potential to identify new treatment targets for patients with B-cell lymphomas.