Sue Chin Lee, PhD, an assistant professor of Physiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has been awarded the UTHSC/Southern Research Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) Award in Drug Discovery and Development for studying treatments that target anti-tumor immunity.
For her project, titled "Drug Discovery Targeting Lysophosphatidic Acid (LPA) GPCR Subtype 5 (LPA5)," Lee will receive combined funding from SR and UTHSC for up to two years to further develop her novel research project investigating the role of LPA5 in cancer metastasis and cancer immunosurveillance.
Lee and her team have discovered that LPA5 plays a key role in cancer metastasis. Specifically, they found that LPA5 receptors knock-out mice were protected from developing melanoma-derived lung metastasis. Moreover, activation of the LPA5 receptor on CD8 T-lymphocytes suppresses the immunosurveillance activities of CD8 T-lymphocytes against tumor cells.
These findings led Dr. Lee and her team to believe that developing compounds that target the LPA5 receptor have potential therapeutic utility in cancer, especially in the area of cancer metastasis and anti-tumor immunity.
Nearly two years since its inception, the CORNET Awards have been the seed of more than $1.4 million in funding to support new collaborative research teams and their groundbreaking drug discovery and development initiatives.