Assistant Professor Roderick Hori of UTHSC Receives $112,266 Grant for Prostate Cancer Research

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Roderick Hori, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received an award of $112,266 from the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity for a study titled, “Delineation of Methyl-DNA Binding Protein Interactions in the Prostate Cancer Genome.”  The award will fund a one-year study to further prostate cancer research.Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men. About one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and about one in 36 men will die from prostate cancer.  This study will analyze the activity of DNA of both prostate cancer and normal cells, which are regulated in part by methylation — the addition of a small chemical group.  The pattern of DNA methylation differs between prostate cancer cells and normal cells.  These differences lead to the improper expression of critical genes.   Methylated DNA can be bound by a family of proteins — known as MBD proteins — which determine the eventual consequence of DNA methylation.

The primary goal of Dr. Hori’s research is to define and compare the binding of MBD proteins throughout the entire genome of prostate cancer and normal tissues, and identify the differences in MBD protein binding.   This information will allow Dr. Hori and his team to identify novel genes regulated by DNA methylation and MBD binding during prostate cancer progression, which could lead to the development of new biomarkers.

“When DNA becomes methylated, it is bound by MBD proteins and results in altered gene expression, which contributes to cancer,” said Dr. Hori.  “This study will both unravel the steps that lead from DNA methylation to altered gene expression and identify new genes that are inappropriately expressed in prostate cancer due to MBD proteins.”

These studies could also provide insight into understanding the steps that regulate genes during prostate cancer progression and lead to designing new directions in therapy.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity is the contracting element of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and provides support to the Command headquarters and its worldwide network of laboratories and medical logistics organizations.  For more information, please visit http://www.usamraa.army.mil/index.cfm.