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The Jablons' lab research has advanced dramatically over the past several years. The group were among the first to demonstrate that aberrant Wnt signaling appeared to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma through overexpression of Dishevelled (Dvl) proteins. The group also discovered the critical survival role of Wnt protein ligands as a survival mechanism. The group employed a monoclonal antibody to target both the Wnt-1 and Wnt-2 gene and found it induced apoptosis in cancer cells.

The group showed that aberrant Wnt signaling may be the result of hypermethylation in the promoter regions of the WIF-1 gene, a naturally occurring Wnt signaling antagonist and that its functional restoration by recombinant WIF-1proteins induced cancer cell-specific apoptosis in malignant cells. These studies have led to the development of novel targeted molecular therapies in pre-clinical models, translational research that we are confident will have lead to the successful treatment of lung cancer and mesothelioma patients.

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Dr. Xu has closely collaborated with Dr. Jablons' and his other colleagues in the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Dr. Liang You and Dr. Biao He, on numerous peer-reviewed articles, and intramural and extramural grant applications, a number of which have been funded. During 1999-2001, an NIH R21 grant helped supported Dr. Xu's development of full-length cDNA cloning technology. Just this year, the lab was awarded a prestigious NIH R01 grant on which Dr. Xu serve as co-PI entitled, The Wnt Pathway in Malignant Mesothelioma. The Jablons' lab successful pursuit of this grant, to run from 2005-2009, was a major breakthrough for thelab, and an accomplishment that will greatly facilitate the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying mesothelioma and lung cancer and provide data for development of therapies for these challenging diseases.

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