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July 7, 2021

WPI researcher awarded $800K for cancer research

Courtesy | Worcester Polytechnic Institute Amity Manning, a researcher at WPI, received funding for cell division research.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute researcher Amity Manning has been awarded a $799,995 grant from the American Cancer Society to determine the role a critical tumor-suppressor protein plays in chromosome errors arising during cell division in cancer cells.

When cancer cells divide, the new cells can have chromosome errors to allow the cancer to develop genetic variability, which can allow tumor cells to evade drug treatment, according to a release from WPI. Researching how an absence of retinoblastoma protein (pRB), which regulates cellular processes, contributes to mis-sorted genetic information in tumor cells could possibly lead to future cancer therapies.

“Without  pRB, subtle defects may arise in the centromere that allow some chromosomes to sort improperly, so we will define which proteins are involved in the erroneous sorting and determine whether other regulators could correct the errors,” Manning said in the release.

Manning will collaborate with researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester who have expertise in genomics, bioinformatics analyses and DNA analysis methods. She will have access to the medical school’s electron microscopy facility for imaging studies of chromosomal structures.

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