Shizhen Zhu, MD, PhD
Project: Role of SHP2 signaling in the Pathogenesis of High-Risk Neuroblastoma
Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system occurring primarily in young children and accounting for approximately 10% of all deaths in children with cancer. Progress in treating this cancer has been challenging because researchers do not fully understand the mutations, or abnormalities, that occur in the genes that make neuroblastoma.
Shizhen (Jane) Zhu, MD, PhD at Mayo Clinic received a CureSearch Young Investigator award to study the influence of the mutation and over-expression of a gene called SHP2 on the growth of neuroblastoma tumors. SHP2 is known to be mutationally activated and overexpressed in cells when a patient has neuroblastoma and Dr. Zhu is studying whether abnormal SHP2 can result in neuroblastoma development. Dr. Zhu uses zebrafish as a model system in which to study neuroblastoma. In her lab, she integrates the human SHP2 gene into the genome of the fish to determine how SHP2 overexpression impacts the initiation and growth of neuroblastoma tumors.
As of the conclusion of her CureSearch-funded project, Dr. Zhu has used zebrafish to increase the understanding of potential therapeutics in neuroblastoma:
- 1 therapeutic combination assessed in zebrafish neuroblastoma models
- 1 model transgenic zebrafish line developed to be used for drug screens