Damon Runyon Researchers

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Bryan C. King, PhD

Dr. King (Berger Foundation Fellow) is studying mechanisms by which nutrient-deprived cancer cells utilize extracellular proteins as a source of amino acids to promote their growth and survival. The bulk uptake of extracellular material, through a process called macropinocytosis, is a major means of nutrient uptake in single-celled, amoeboid organisms. Recent evidence suggests that mutations prevalent in cancer cells can activate this ancient scavenging mechanism. He will investigate how signaling pathways that respond to changes in nutrient availability, such as the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), can influence this process. Since many agents currently used in the clinic act by cutting off the supply of nutrients to the tumor, these studies may give insights into how cancer cells develop resistance to therapy.

Project title: "AMPK-induced catabolism of extracellular proteins: a novel survival mechanism for nutrient-deprived cancer cells"
Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Named Award: Berger Foundation Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Craig B. Thompson, MD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Cell Biology