Nick Dyson, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research, Mass General Research Institute
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
James and Shirley Curvey MGH Research Scholar (2012-2017)
Mass General Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital
|PhD University of Manchester 1988|
The Dyson Laboratory studies the role of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene (RB). RB is found in most cell types and it enables cells to stop dividing. RB is inactivated in many types of cancer; a change that is thought to be an important step in tumor progression.
We have three main goals. First, we want to understand the molecular details of how RB acts. Second, we want to understand how the inactivation of RB changes the cell. Third, we want to be able to use these insights to target tumor cells. There are three general opportunities. If we can identify the specific defects that promote tumor development it may be possible to suppress these changes.
Alternatively, the properties of RB-deficient cells may represent points of weakness that are specific to tumor cells and that can be enhanced. Another possibility stems from the knowledge that RB is actually expressed in many tumor cells but it has insufficient activity to stop cell division. For these tumors, the challenge is to find ways to enhance the activity of RB.