Whereas the majority of adult-onset cancers are of epithelial origin caused by a life-long accumulation of DNA mutations, cancers arising in children and young adults are caused by distinct mechanisms. Underscoring these differences, studies characterizing the genome of young-onset cancers have revealed that less than half of their pathogenic mutations are shared with cancers associated with aging. There are many unanswered questions that need to be addressed for childhood and young adult cancers:
- What causes cancer in children and young adults without inheritance of cancer-predisposing mutations or exposure to environmental mutagens? How do predisposing alleles and exposures contribute to cancer development?
- What developmental processes are dysregulated to cause mutations and cell transformation in otherwise healthy tissues?
- How do mutations in developmental pathways involving transcription factors and epigenetic signaling cause cancer?
- How do we design effective therapeutics to block, activate, and modulate protein interactions that control transcription factors and other developmental regulators?
- How do we identify targets for immune therapy in developmental tumors that have relatively few mutations?
These are questions and goals of importance to both basic biological and applied oncological sciences. Their understanding is expected to provide fundamental insights into molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and physiology. Likewise, this should advance molecular pathology and therapy of diverse human cancers, since childhood and young adult developmental cancers involve essential mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis.
The Tow Center for Developmental Oncology is looking to recruit outstanding scientists to make transformative advances to address these questions. New questions and interdisciplinary approaches of relevance to young-onset cancer biology are encouraged. Please send your CV and one-page letter describing your interests to [email protected].
MSK is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of recruitment and employment.