Fighting Lung Cancer
A lung cancer investigator earns more than three hundred thousand dollars from the National Recovery Act.
Aired August 24, 2009
2 minutes 3.7 MB) | Download mp3
A lung cancer investigator earns more than three hundred thousand dollars from the National Recovery Act. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I'm Brendan Lynch.
Emily Scott always has worried about smokers' health. As a girl, the assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Kansas would hide her grandfather's cigarettes.
Scott: "He was a very heavy smoker. And when I was a young child, I knew from school and my parents that smoking was not a good thing and I loved my grandfather. So I would visit him and I would steal all the cigarettes I could find and either flush them down the toilet or hide them in the doghouse. And the dog would get really sick because he was eating the cigarettes."
Today, Scott continues her fight against disease caused by smoking - and her innovative research has been rewarded with a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The award supports use of nuclear magnetic resonance to see how cytochrome P450 enzymes work to cause lung cancer in smokers.
Scott: "To understand how these enzymes work and how they bind differently shaped chemicals, what we've been doing is using a technique called x-ray crystallography, where we use e-rays and particle accelerators and crystals of the enzyme in order to get what is essentially a 'before' snapshot - before the chemical is bound - and an 'after' snapshot - after the chemical is bound. And the new technique we're using - NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance - will enable us to essentially generate a video of what happens to the small molecule."
On top of scientific progress, the Federal government sees jobs resulting from Scott's work. Richard Okita oversees her grant at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Okita: "This is an excellent example of the Recovery Act enabling a collaboration that will accelerate research on a metabolic enzyme that has been linked to human lung cancers. By collaborating with an expert in NMR spectroscopy, Scott will be able to get a closer look at cytochrome P450 2A13's structure, bringing her closer to finding new anti-cancer agents. The funding will also go toward hiring additional researchers - another goal of the Recovery Act."
For more on Emily Scott, log onto Research Matters dot K-U dot E-D-U. For the University if Kansas, I'm Brendan Lynch.