Paramita Ghosh, a UC Davis associate professor and expert in signal transduction pathways in prostate cancer, has been selected as one of 350 scientists to work on a project that aims to reduce public exposure to environmental agents that can lead to cancer and that hopes to inspire research into multi-faceted approaches to cancer prevention, treatment and prolonged survival.
The organization sponsoring the work is called Getting to Know Cancer, an independent volunteer non-governmental organization based in Nova Scotia, Canada. The group’s “Halifax Project” involves more than 350 cancer researchers from 21 countries participating in one of 24 teams to tackle problems in cancer.
Ghosh’s contribution will be to examine the role of a molecular pathway based on the protein mTOR, which appears to be a good target for cancer-killing drugs. She explains that when a person eats, the mTOR pathway triggers enzymes that cause protein synthesis, but aberrant activation of the pathway, such as in cancer, allows the excessive synthesis of proteins involved in tumor development. She and her graduate student, Leandro D’Abronzo, are involved in the part of the project that examines whether exposure to environmental agents in food cause cancer by activating this pathway.
“We were asked to write on this pathway as one of a list of “prioritized targets” important in the development of cancer because it controls so much of the link between cancer and nutrition,” Ghosh said.
The project’s results will be published in planned special issues of two peer-reviewed cancer journals.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.