Tag: pathology

Possible ‘Central Hub’ Proteins Found in Cancer Cell Growth

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog.

I composed this original article based on an interview with the investigator.


A study from researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia may add new lines to the textbook description of how cancer cells divide uncontrollably and develop into tumors. Their study, published in Nature Communications, identifies and describes an epigenetic mechanism in cancer cells that amplifies the expression of many genes and could be a central hub in cancer cell growth. Unlike most molecular cancer discoveries that advance knowledge of the disease by dividing it into narrower subtypes, this finding could directly apply to multiple cancer types.

“We know the signaling pathway known as the Rb pathway is altered in pretty much every single tumor that you can find in clinical settings,” said Patrick Viatour, PharmD, PhD, the study’s senior author, an investigator at CHOP and assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Viatour’s research focuses on a family of proteins in the Rb pathway, called E2f transcription factors, that are an important part of the process of cell division — the cell cycle of reproduction that is carefully controlled in healthy cells but proceeds out of control when cancer cells proliferate. Transcription factors, including the E2f family of proteins, bind to specific target regions of DNA and help to either activate or deactivate expression of certain genes.

As a result of Rb pathway alteration, E2f factors are steadily turned on in cancer. In the study primarily using a mouse model of liver cancer, Dr. Viatour and his team found that E2f1 progressively accumulates as cancer progresses.

Medicine’s Version of Santa’s Workshop: A Laboratory Medicine Q&A

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog.

I conducted, transcribed, and edited this interview, and wrote the introduction.


Laboratory medicine specialists in pediatrics have a lot in common with Santa’s elves. They are less visible and receive far less of children’s attention than the ones who directly deliver gifts or bedside care, but their behind-the-scenes contributions are essential for the whole enterprise to function correctly. Just think how often you and your family members of any age need to have blood drawn and wait for lab test results to receive the doctor’s diagnosis or a treatment decision.

Michael J. Bennett, PhD, FRCPath, FACB, chief of laboratory medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is at the forefront of the professional group representing these essential experts in analyzing blood, tissue, chemicals, and cells. Dr. Bennett will serve on the board of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) beginning in January 2016 as president-elect, then in 2017 as AACC president.

On the occasion of this new leadership role, Cornerstone sat down with Dr. Bennett, who is director of the Michael J. Palmieri Metabolic Laboratory at CHOP and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss his insights from 40 years of experience in clinical chemistry in pediatrics.