资讯中心

资讯中心

资讯中心

人物 | Justin TAN: 突破命运枷锁 探寻癌细胞演变分子机制

2021.09.03

湾豆说.png

According to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is still a major killer facing humanity in the world today. Cancer is the second leading cause of death around the world, killing approximately 10 million people every year. About one in six deaths worldwide are caused by cancer. After witnessing his family and friends suffer from cancer, Justin Tan is determined to devote himself to the research of cancer mechanisms and anti-cancer drugs. He and his group hope to deeply understand the molecular mechanisms of cancer cells, and discover new potential drug targets and treatment methods for cancer. They believe that in this race with the goddess of destiny, the dawn of life will be found eventually for all mankind. 

据世界卫生组织公布的数据,癌症仍然是当今世界人类面临的主要杀手。癌症是全球第二大死因,每年导致约一千万人死亡。全球大约六分之一的死亡由癌症造成。在目睹了友人相继罹患癌症的不幸遭遇后,Justin决心投入癌症机制及抗癌药物的研究中。他和他的团队希望深入理解癌细胞的分子机制,寻找潜在的药物靶点和治疗手段。他们相信,在这场与命运女神的竞赛中,必将为人类寻找到生命的曙光。



Justin.png



Justin TAN(陈礼宏)

深圳湾实验室肿瘤研究所

特聘研究员

课题组旨在建立:

(1)通过建立并研究工程细胞系和人源肿瘤异体移植模型,描述谱系转录因子在促进肿瘤发生和细胞分化中的作用机制,(2)开发并结合高通量筛选技术来鉴定肿瘤形成相关的化学抑制剂,以研究谱系因子在肿瘤形成过程中对细胞命运的调节机制。


01  Still an incurable disease for many 难以治愈的疾病

I was born and raised in Singapore. My parents did not go to college, and I was fortunate to be awarded a scholarship from the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research in Singapore to pursue a bachelor’s and Ph.D. in science in the US. After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, like many graduates, I was unsure if I should continue in a scientific career or do something else. During a gap year before my Ph.D. studies, I worked as a research assistant at the Genome Institute of Singapore. In that same year, I witnessed the tragic passing of a family friend from colorectal cancer. I also found out that a close friend of mine in college came down with leukemia and was undergoing aggressive treatment. I realized that current cancer therapies had many shortcomings and that a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence for many. I was deeply affected by these experiences, and this was when I decided to commit myself to finding new treatments and possibly a cure for cancer.

我自幼在新加坡出生成长。我的父母从未读过大学,而我幸运地获得了新加坡科学技术研究局的奖学金,得以赴美国攻读理学学士及博士学位。本科毕业并取得了生物化学专业学位后,我和许多毕业生一样,对于继续从事科研工作或是投身其他事业仍不能抉择。在攻读博士学位前的间隔年,我返回故乡并在新加坡基因组研究所(GIS)担任研究助理。同一年,我的一位家族友人因罹患直肠癌而不幸去世,我大学时期的一位好友也被诊断出白血病,正在接受激进的治疗。那时我意识到,现有的癌症治疗方法仍有很多不足之处,一旦确诊癌症对许多人来说等同于判决死刑。这些遭遇深深影响了我,使我下定决心投身于癌症治疗方法的研究中。


02 Regulate cancer cell fate by developing new drugs 扼住癌细胞的命脉

Our group focuses on drugging the cancer cell fate. We want to understand in detail how normal cells change their fate into a cancerous one. Cell fate changes are governed by a class of genes called lineage transcription factors. These factors convert our cells’ instruction manual, DNA, into messenger molecules called RNA, which then instruct cells to change their function. In cancer, many of these lineage transcription factors are mis-regulated, resulting in the conversion of a normal cell into a cancer cell fate. One way to reverse this effect is to block the function of these lineage factors, which can lead to tumor shrinkage. Currently, however, we do not have any drugs that can do this. The structures of many of these factors remain unknown, so intelligent drug design is still out of the question.

我们课题组重点关注药物作用如何影响癌细胞的命运。我们力求深入探究正常细胞是如何转化为癌细胞的。细胞命运的变化由一类称为谱系转录因子的基因控制,这类基因将我们细胞的“指令手册”——DNA转化为“信使分子”——RNA,并指导细胞功能的变化。在癌症中,许多谱系转录因子被错误调控,致使正常细胞转化为癌细胞。我们已知逆转癌细胞的一种手段是阻断这些转录因子的功能,使肿瘤退缩。然而,目前没有任何药物可以做到这一点。许多转录因子的结构仍然是未知的,因此也就无法进行相关智能药物的设计研发。


In our lab, we aim to understand in more detail how lineage transcription factors utilize other proteins to achieve their cancer cell fate function. We also aim to design new techniques to efficiently discover drug-like molecules that target these lineage transcription factors. In this way, we will provide new knowledge to further our understanding of cancer and set the stage for the development of new and effective cancer therapies for patients.

我们课题组的目标是更深入地了解谱系转录因子如何利用其他蛋白质作用产生其癌细胞命运功能。我们也希望设计出新的技术,能够高效发掘出靶向定位谱系转录因子的类药物分子。通过这种方式,我们将提供新的知识来加深对癌症的理解,并为研发全新的癌症治疗方法奠定基础。


03 Be part of the innovation ecosystem 融入创新生态

SZBL has an excellent research environment. The offer from SZBL came with the promise of high caliber senior faculty mentors, a collaborative atmosphere, state of the art facilities, shared equipment, and generous research funding. This is everything a young faculty member can ask for. The ability to pursue my research interests freely and independently was what attracted me the most. 

深圳湾实验室提供了一流的科研环境。实验室拥有资深的导师、良好的协作氛围、先进的平台设施,开放共享的仪器设备和研究经费支持等等,这正是每位青年科学家所向往的。最吸引我的是在这里能够心无旁骛、自主地开展我感兴趣的研究。


In fact, I feel that China, especially Shenzhen, has strongly supported and invested heavily in basic research. Basic research is the source of innovation and the cornerstone of the scientific system, and I wanted to be part of this ecosystem.

我觉得在中国,特别是深圳,都在大力支持和投入基础研究。基础研究是创新的源头,也是科学体系的基石,我想成为这个生态系统的一部分。


The institute of Cancer Research has set up a world-class oncological research team. I am deeply honored to be able to join such an excellent team. At SZBL, my short-term goal is to publish one or more high impact papers in prestigious scientific journals and my long-term goal is to spin-off a company from my research that develops effective cancer therapeutics for patients. I hope that our research can enable more cancer patients to lead a better life.

肿瘤研究所已组建了世界一流的研究团队,能够加入这样优秀的团队,我深感荣幸。在这里,我的短期目标是在知名科学期刊上发表一篇或多篇有影响力的论文,长期目标则是通过我的研究成果,助力转化出一家为患者开发有效癌症治疗方法的公司。希望我们的研究可以让更多的癌症患者过上有质量的生活。


Justin课题组.png

课题组长简介

Justin Tan博士毕业于哈佛大学,并获得化学生物的博士学位,长期从事使用先进化学生物技术发现天然产物与合成化合物抑制谱系转录因子癌基因,并最终实现创新先进癌症药物的开发。

Justin拥有近10年相关研究经验,发表过多篇高水平期刊论文(包括Molecular Cell、Science、Gastroenterology等)。他曾作为新加坡基因组研究所的项目负责人,并在颇具盛名的新加坡科技研究局获得学士和博士奖学金到美国深造。


荣誉奖励

• National Science Scholarship (Singapore)

• 100 Global Young Scientific Leaders (Gap Summit)

• Certificate of Distinction in Teaching (Harvard)


点击了解课题组招聘详情


文字统筹 | 姬 二 鍮 鍮

绘画 | 白 白

视频 | 姬 二 鍮 鍮

编辑 | 鲍 啦