David Gius, MD, PhD from Northwestern University was funded in the 2012 cycle of the Hirshberg Foundation’s annual Seed Grant Program. The results of the study explain the genetic connection between aging and cancer.
Gius is the Vice Chair of Translation Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Pharmacology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and has been studying the relationship between aging and cancer. A fundamental observation in oncology is that the rate of malignancies increases significantly as a function of age and the development of cancers. In fact, advanced age is the single most important predictive variable for cancer incidence in pancreatic cancers. Dr. David Gius and his colleagues have investigated and found that this relationship involves one of the primary anti-aging genes, SIRT2, which interacts with KRAS and alters KRAS activity establishing a cellular environment in the pancreas favoring proliferation and genomic instability. KRAS mutations are observed in 95% of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Thus there is a genetic connection between aging and the early events that put humans at risk for pancreatic cancer. They have published their work in Oncotarget, 2016, Vol. 7, (No. 49): pages: 80336-80349.