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MD Anderson Events

John H. Blaffer Lecture Series

John H. Blaffer Lecture Series

Frederick W. Alt, Ph.D.

Professor
Boston Children’s Hospital/HHMI
Boston, MA
 
 
“Antibodies, Genome Stability and Cancer”
 
 
Host: Howard Gutstein
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Date: 12/11/12, 4pm to 5pm
Time: 12/11/12, 4pm to 5pm
Location: Onstead Auditorium, Basic Science Research Building, Floor 3, near Elevator J, (S3.8012)
Format: Lecture
CME: 0
Facilitator: Leslie Krushel
Speaker: Fred Alt
Speaker Bio: For more than 30 years, Frederick Alt has studied how instability within the genome leads to cancer and has worked to uncover the cellular mechanisms that normally suppress this process. His discoveries have led to a greater understanding of the ways that cancer develops, and they hold promise for finding ways to control the disease. For many scientists, interest in research is sparked by a teacher or hands-on experience, but Alt's attraction was borne from personal misfortune. "Both my mother and father died of cancer by the time I turned 11, and from that point on, I decided that I would spend the rest of my life working on this disease," Alt said. As an undergraduate student at Brandeis University, he learned that elucidating basic cellular processes was one of the best ways to study cancer. That strategy paid off as a graduate student working in Robert Schimke's laboratory at Stanford in the 1970s. While investigating how cancers become resistant to the chemotherapy drug methotrexate, Alt discovered a major form of genomic instability called gene amplification, a fundamental process in cancer that creates many copies of a gene, in some cases numbering in the thousands. "While the initial discovery was made in the context of chemotherapy resistance, it soon became appreciated that gene amplification also is a major mechanism of tumor progression," Alt said.
Contact: Doris Green - (713) 834-6267 - dlgreen1@mdanderson.org