Damon Runyon Researchers

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Luc G. Morris, MD

Head and neck cancer is a lethal malignancy that can arise in the mouth, throat, voice box, and related areas. These tumors are squamous cell cancers that are, in many cases, caused by tobacco use or human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Head and neck cancers have many molecular similarities with squamous cell cancers of the lung and esophagus. Dr. Morris is studying a poorly understood gene called FAT1, which is frequently altered in head and neck cancer (as well as lung and esophageal cancer). He has found that this gene, in its normal state, prevents tumor development. In this project, he will determine the effects of FAT1 alterations on tumor cell growth, squamous cell development and differentiation, and the clinical prognosis of patients. This work will help to develop new ways of therapeutically targeting the pathways that promote the development of head and neck and other squamous cell cancers.

Project title: "Functionalizing tumor suppressor gene mutations and deletions in head and neck cancer"
Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Timothy A. Chan, MD, PhD and James Fagin, MD
Cancer Type: Head and Neck Cancer
Research Area: Genomics