CRI Funded Scientists

Qiming Zhang, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Age is a dominant risk factor for cancer in humans and laboratory animals, with ~50% of all cancers and ~70% of all cancer deaths occurring in the elderly (≥ 65 years). Based on preliminary experiments, we hypothesize that non-Lgr5+ progenitor cells likely play a larger role during tumor initiation in old age. In this proposal, Dr. Zhang plans to decipher the cell origin of intestinal cancers based on young and old genetically engineered murine models in detail, which would be important to understand the tumor progression mechanisms of most colorectal patients that are aged. At the same time, she plans to characterize how the tumor microenvironment of young and old mice would influence cancer progression, providing both intrinsic and extrinsic impacts of aging on colorectal cancer development. She believes that potential new targets will come out to target old cohorts specifically. She will also examine different immunotherapy strategies to evaluate how aging would influence treatment responses. Based on these experiments and analyses, Dr. Zhang hopes to understand how age would influence cancer progression and tumor microenvironment, and how to regulate the dynamics and alterations to combat aged cancer cohorts, which are dominant populations of the current cancer incidence.

Projects and Grants

Impact of aging on cancer progression and tumor microenvironment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | All Cancers | 2022 | Omer Yilmaz, Ph.D.

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