Hui Li, PhD, the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Pathology, was awarded a $2.5 million grant for a project titled “Targeting AVIL, a novel oncogene in rhabdomyosarcoma.”
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft-tissue cancer in children, adolescents and young adults. Despite collaborative national trials of multimodal therapy and chemotherapy intensification, the outcome for patients with advanced stage rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) has not improved in two decades. As of now, no targeted therapy is available. More fundamental knowledge about the disease, identification of novel therapeutic targets, and better treatment options are urgently needed. Previously, Dr. Li identified a novel oncogene, AVIL in another malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma (GBM), and is studying AVIL’s role in GBM (supported by a separate R01 grant). His lab has accumulated multiple lines of evidence supporting that AVIL is an Achilles heel of RMS, and targeting it may be an effective approach for treating the disease. The project aims to conduct the systematic investigation of AVIL as a novel target against RMS.