Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and most who are diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive five years. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type where tumor cells shed from the main tumor circulate in the blood and settle in other organs and metastasize.
In some cases, surgery can remove the primary tumor, but investigators from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care have identified a type of cell fusion between cancer cells and white blood cells called a tumor-macrophage fusion (TMF) where the size and number of the TMF cells may predict survival.
Shiyou Chen, DVM, PhD, joined the MU School of Medicine in September 2019 as the chief of the Department of Surgery’s new division of research. His job is to foster collaborations between MU’s surgeons and basic scientists, which aligns perfectly with the university system’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative.
Chen, who spent the previous 11 years at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, brought four active National Institutes of Health R01 grants worth more than $5.8 million over five years to MU. Chen’s project closest to the finish line is a drug that could be used to coat the stents that reopen narrowed arteries.