HIF is a protein involved in the growth of tumor blood vessels as well as the metastatic spread of tumors. HIF is activated when the LKB1 gene is lost, an event that occurs in up to a third of non-small cell lung cancer cases. Kim’s research will seek to determine if HIF is responsible for the poor prognosis of patients with LKB1 loss. The findings should have immediate implications for the treatment of lung cancer through the use of FDA-approved inhibitors of the HIF pathway.
The Joan’s Legacy program is named for Joan Scarangello, a writer and nonsmoker who died at age 47 after a fight with lung cancer.