Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
David G. McFadden, MD, PhD

Mitochondria, the “power plants” of the cell, carry their own DNA that encodes proteins important to producing the energy necessary to run a normal cell. Most cancers also depend on mitochondria to promote the growth and division of tumor cells. Dr. McFadden has shown that a form of thyroid cancer called Hürthle cell carcinoma carries mutations in the mitochondrial DNA, which are maintained in primary tumors and metastases resected from the same patients. He will study energy metabolism in Hürthle cell cancers by feeding the tumors isotope forms of nutrients (tracers) that are used to produce energy and support cell growth. The tracers can be visualized to reveal how metabolism is re-wired in these tumors and to identify novel ways to target altered mitochondrial metabolism in cancers with such genetic mutations. Dr. McFadden works under the mentorship of Steven McKnight, PhD, and Ralph DeBerardinis, MD, PhD, at the University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas.

Project title: "Identifying metabolic vulnerabilities in Hürthle cell carcinoma"
Institution: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Steven L. McKnight, PhD, and Ralph J. DeBerardinis, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Biochemistry