Assistant professor of biological sciences receives Young Investigator Award

Author: Deanna Csomo McCool

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Xin Lu, John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences in the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, has been awarded a Young Investigator Award from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).

"His work investigates ways to develop cures for rare cancers that are very poorly understood and extremely difficult to treat," said Kasturi Haldar, Rev. Julius A. Nieuwland C.S.C. professor of biological sciences and James Parsons and Carrie Quinn director of the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases. "He is a leading expert in developing mouse models that can mimic rare cancers caused by human mutations, in which to test new therapies."

Lu seeks to understand and target the tumor microenvironment. Many drugs that can kill cancers are toxic, but if they can selectively be delivered to the cancerous cell and released inside of it, then the drug will more precisely kill the tumor. This reduces the chance that the drug will harm healthy tissue. Lu has proposed a strategy of coupling drugs to antibodies that can recognize targets on prostate cancer cells.