R. Brown, M.D., PhD
Young Scientist Award
by the Lymphoma Foundation of America
Jennifer R. Brown, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
"I am very appreciative of the Research Award given to me by the Lymphoma Foundation of America. It is important that lymphoma research is recognized and supported by organizations such as yours, who are dedicated to serving cancer patients and their families."
"My research interests have two principal goals: the development of a clinical and translational research program in chronic lymphocytic leukemia at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and understanding and characterizing the biology of familial lymphoproliferative disorders. In addition, I see a large number of patients at Dana-Farber, and I teach the house staff and fellows as well."
"I am especially interested in understanding the familial genetics of cancers that arise from lymphocytes. These lymphoproliferative diseases include chronic lymphocytic leukemia."
"Almost no research has been done to understand why multiple members of a family develop these diseases. I want to help identify and characterize families with two or more members who have had lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia, to study the nature of the tumors to see if they have unique features, and ultimately to identify genes that may contribute to the development of lymphoma and leukemia in these families. Not enough is being done in this area, and there are important biological clues that we can obtain from this type of research."
"I'm involved in experiments that focus on the genetic make up of lymphomas that occur in affected families. Many cancers develop characteristic changes in their chromosomes that are distinguished from normal cells in the same person. In many of these cancers, areas of lost genetic material pinpoint a critical gene that predisposes the person to the development of cancer. In some cases of familial cancer, a predisposing change in one of these genes can be inherited at birth. These experiments employ a highly sensitive methodology to compare the DNA and chromosomes from each lymphoma to other familial lymphomas, as well as to normal tissue and lymphomas that occur without a family history, which are called sporadic."
"Our hypothesis is that, with the development of lymphoma in families, genes in certain functional groups are most likely to be involved: genes that protect and repair DNA from environmental insults, genes that inactivate environmental toxins, genes involved in the development and regulation of the immune system, or genes involved in the function of normal B lymphocytes. Experiments to look closely at the DNA of familial and sporadic lymphomas, as well as their patterns of gene expression, may help identify these genes. Information from the Human Genome Project can be very helpful in these experiments. If these studies are successful, we may be able to identify genes involved in familial lymphoma, which may eventually allow us to identify individuals at high risk for the development of lymphoma, which could allow for new prevention or screening techniques."
"My hope is that the research for which I have received this grant award from the Lymphoma Foundation of America, will have great potential to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the development of lymphoma."