Dr. Leif Oxburgh

 

FOXD1: The Key to Kidney Tumors?

“Why Kidneys? Why anything else?” For Dr. Oxburgh, a 15-year search for the secret of rejuvenating kidneys may also hold the key to stopping cancer.

“The interesting thing about kidneys is, adult growth just stops,” says Oxburgh. “When kidneys are damaged, the affected tissue simply goes away. With 10% of all adults in the U.S. facing chronic kidney disease, it’s  a massive clinical problem.” Working with his team at Maine Medical Cancer Research Institute, Dr. Oxburgh has been seeking new ways to stimulate the body into growing replacement kidney tissue.

“One of the major obstacles to making this happen in adults is that we know many of these growth mechanisms activate cancer- and we don’t want to activate cancer.” says Oxburgh. “We come at this from the opposite point of view than most cancer researchers.” The core of Oxburgh’s research is the study of a particular gene, FOXD1 which appears to regulate the growth of blood vessels surrounding cancer tumors.

“With renal cell carcinoma, one of the really, really fascinating aspects of it is that it forms a new little organ within an organ,” says Oxburgh. “It’s surrounded by this intricate network of blood vessels. We started looking for genetic markers that might control this vessel growth.” It is Dr. Oxburgh’s hope that if FOXD1 can be proven to regulate the growth of these tumors, new targeted gene therapies might be possible- without the damaging side effects of traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

“It’s a very simple question, but it hasn’t been answered,” says Oxburgh. “It’s only now that we have the capability to do that.”

Cancer cells in the kidney develop many, many blood vessels that feed the growth of tumors and understanding why this happens is one of the keys to improving treatment.  This study, lead by Dr. Oxburgh, plans to map a specific gene called FOXD1 that seems to regulate the growth of blood vessels that grow around kidney tumors. The presence of FOXD1 also seems to predict patient survival time and this study seeks to prove that relationship.  Eventually, this information could be used to improve treatments for kidney cancer patients by targeting FOXD1 in the tumor.

Research Overview:

Understanding the Role of FOXD1 in Renal Cell Carcinoma Angiogenesis

Kidney cancer is the 8th most common cancer in the US. Most kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas and among these the clear cell type (ccRCC) originating in the proximal tubule is most common. Mutations underlying ccRCC cause cells to engage hypoxic pathways, which signal oxygen deprivation. Because blood vessel ingrowth is an early response to hypoxia, ccRCCs are highly vascularized and blockers of vessel formation are commonly used in treatment. Understanding mechanisms leading to ccRCC vascularization and identifying markers that predict the success of treatment will lead to better therapeutic strategies and improved survival.

Organization: 
Maine Medical Center Research Institute
Researcher: 
Leif Oxburgh, Ph.D
Grant Amount Given: 
$178,409
Year Issued: 
2014
Period: 
Annual
Grant Category: 
Research
Types of Cancer: 
Kidney
Grant Duration: 
2 Year Accelerator Grant

Maine Cancer Foundation Grants to this Organization:

Year Program Amount Category Organization
2015 Creating a Centralized Biospecimen Resource for Cancer Research $199,830 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2015 Tumor Registry Electronic Medical Record Linked Data Resource: TREMR $191,230 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2015 Integrating Personalized Risk Information in Low-Dose CT (LDCT) Screening for Lung Cancer $100,000 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2014 FOXD1: The Key to Kidney Tumors? $178,409 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2013 miR-590 - A Novel Candidate microRNA in Acute Myeloid Leukemia $168,906 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2013 Notch Signaling In A Mouse Model Of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia $50,000 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2013 Numb5 & Numb6 promote Invasive Behavior of Breast Cancer by Inducing Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition $49,989 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2013 The Role Of Spry1 And Spry4 In Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Differentiation And Cancer Stem Cell Self-Renewal $156,315 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2013 Development of a Novel Small Molecule Inhibitor for Breast Cancer Treatment $169,861 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2011 Passport to Care $10,000 Navigator Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2010 Role of Cryptic Activation Site within B1 Integrins in Breast Tumor Growth $91,919 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2010 Targeting Stromal Cell Interactions to Reduce Prostate Cancer $81,175 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2010 Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cells by Heparin Binding Domain of IGFBP-2 $82,535 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2009 Functional Tests of PODXL's Contributions to Tumorigenesis $80,000 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2008 Genetic Model of TGFB Receptor-Dependent Supression of Prostate Cancer Metastasis $78,413 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2008 FGF-Mediated Tumor Growth Induced by Noth Signaling Inhibition $86,191 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2007 Twist dimers as markers of tumor metastasis $73,000 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute
2007 Sprouty 4: a possible repressor of Id protein function in breast cancer $72,000 Research Maine Medical Center Research Institute