March 8-21, 2002
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Team finds more effective treatment for lung cancer
Former University rector appointed to governors panel
Senators OK plan
Researchers studying the complex process of tissue growth
Music faculty reach out to area students

Sounds of the wild are music to Shatin’s ears

At the Virginia Festival of the Book
Hot Links -- North American Growth in Cerebral Palsy Project
Lincoln personified ethics in politics
Budget Q&A -- second in a series
Team finds more effective treatment for lung cancer

Dr. David R. Jones

Photo by Jackson Smith
Dr. David R. Jones

By Catherine Wolz

It may eventually be possible to make chemotherapy treatment for non-small cell lung cancer more effective and less toxic, according to results of a study conducted by U.Va. cancer researchers and published in the current Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

A research team, led by Dr. David R. Jones, assistant professor of surgery and a member of the Cancer Center’s thoracic oncology program, identified a way of inhibiting a protein, called nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), which chemotherapy activates in lung tumors. Activation of this protein helps make the lung cancers resistant to chemotherapy. Jones’s research team discovered that inhibiting NF-kB enhances the ability of chemotherapy to kill lung cancer cells by activating the tumor cell’s mitochondria and “death enzymes,” called caspases.

As a result, lower doses of chemotherapy can be used, allowing the patient to suffer fewer of the toxic side effects related to the chemotherapy. Although Jones’ research is still in its early stages, it may prove to be an important advance for patients with lung cancer, the most common cancer killer worldwide.

“This type of cancer is often only diagnosed at a late stage, after spreading throughout the body, and unfortunately is quite resistant to both chemotherapy and radiation,” Jones said. “Our laboratory results suggest that inhibiting the pro-survival protein NF-kB and/or its gene products may be a new mechanism for sensitizing tumor cells to chemotherapy.”

Jones was recognized last year by the American Association for Cancer Research for his translational research identifying the role of NF-kB in chemoresistance of lung cancer.

Jones’ study also received funding from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.


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