Dr. Zaki receives CPRIT grant

Dr. Hasan ZakiCongratulations to Dr. Hasan Zaki, Assistant professor of Pathology for being awarded a $897,707 grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to study the Molecular Mechanism of NLRP12-Mediated Regulation of Colorectal Cancer.

A major challenge in colorectal cancer treatment is disease recurrence that causes significant mortality and morbidity. Therefore, understanding the molecular pathogenesis and identifying key control mechanisms of colorectal cancer are critically important for better therapeutic intervention. Recently, a protein named NLRP12 has emerged as a suppressor of colorectal tumorigenesis. NLRP12 is a member of cytosolic pathogen sensor NOD-like receptors (NLRs), which is present in various cell types including immune and epithelial cells. Mice deficient in NLRP12 are highly susceptible to colorectal tumorigenesis with increased tumor burden and faster progression of cancer.  However, the precise mechanism of how NLRP12 regulates tumorigenic processes is largely unknown. This study aims to identify the cancer signaling pathways that are regulated by NLRP12. Overall, this study will elucidate a novel mechanism of colorectal cancer pathogenesis, and guide us to design immunotherapy for colorectal cancer targeting NLRP12 or NLRP12-associated cell signaling pathways.