A 50th anniversary splash

Ludwig Cancer Research announced on its 50th anniversary the newest Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Based at Princeton University, the Ludwig Princeton Branch will be wholly dedicated to the study of cancer metabolism and the clinical translation of its findings, which will be conducted in partnership with RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and other institutions.

“A more sophisticated understanding of cancer metabolism holds considerable promise for the optimization of cancer prevention and therapy, yet few organizations have assembled a critical mass of experts dedicated exclusively to this promising frontier of research,” said Chi Van Dang, scientific director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. “The Ludwig Princeton Branch will fill that gap.”

Ludwig Princeton is directed by Princeton University’s Joshua Rabinowitz, and two other scientists have been named founding Members of the Branch: Associate Director Eileen White, of Rutgers University and Yibin Kang, also of Princeton University.

“This new partnership goes to the heart of what Princeton is all about. It draws on Princeton’s breadth of excellence in fundamental research to drive real-world breakthroughs at the cutting edge of cancer care,” said Princeton University Provost Deborah Prentice.

Altered metabolism is a salient feature of cancer biology, as cancer cells must rewire their metabolic circuitry to sustain their proliferation. Such adaptations not only drive tumor growth, but cripple the anti-tumor immune response and compromise cancer immunotherapy as well. Metabolic dysfunction also causes the wasting disorder known as cachexia that contributes enormously to cancer-related mortality. Yet the metabolic rewiring comes at a cost to cancer cells: it creates biochemical vulnerabilities that can be exploited for cancer prevention and therapy.

The Ludwig Princeton Branch will focus on three main areas of cancer metabolism: metabolic interactions between the tumor and the rest of the body, including how the body supports tumor growth and metastasis, and how tumors induce cachexia; dietary strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancer; and the interplay of host metabolism, the gut microbiome and the anti-cancer immune response.

“Every one of us chooses, day-by-day, what to eat,” said Ludwig Princeton Branch Director Josh Rabinowitz. “These choices don’t just impact metabolic health, but also immunity and cancer risk. We want to understand the underlying biochemical mechanisms and apply this knowledge to find new ways to prevent and treat cancer.”

This article appeared in the April 2021 issue of Ludwig Link. Click here to download a PDF (1.4 MB).


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