Inflammatory signaling is indispensable for the proper maintenance of our tissues and organs as well as effective immune responses. However, unregulated inflammation is a critical contributing factor in the development of cancer due to its ability to hinder the immune system from attacking tumor cells. The NF-κB protein complex is the master regulator of the inflammatory signaling pathway, and its impact on cell survival and immune activity. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are produced at elevated levels by cancer cells, are integral to this signaling and act to promote pro-inflammatory programs driven by NF-κB. Yet how ROS influence NF-κB remains poorly understood.
Dr. Locke seeks to detail the molecular mechanisms by which ROS regulate NF-κB-driven inflammatory signaling and examine how this pathway influences the survival of cancer cells. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that control effective inflammatory responses will shed light on how dysregulation of this signaling can lead to the development of cancer. By characterizing these mechanisms, she aims to uncover strategies that might be able to disrupt this chronic, cancer-promoting inflammation and aid the development of immunotherapies designed to activate anti-cancer defenses to eliminate tumors.
Projects and Grants
Regulation of NF-κB Controlled Inflammatory Signaling.
University of Washington | All Cancers | 2020 | Joshua J. Woodward, Ph.D.
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