Dr. Heather Hayenga joins the Office of Research and Innovation to discuss the need for systemic therapy to treat hemangiopericytoma (HPC), a rare nonhereditary brain tumor caused by an environmental fusion of two genes. Fusion genes are created from the joining parts of two different genes. The proteins produced by these fused genes may lead to the development of some types of cancer.

A flyer has been created on this topic.

Here at UT Dallas, Dr. Hayenga and her colleagues in the Vascular Mechanobiology Lab collaborate with Dr. Leonidas Bleris and his lab that focuses on genetic engineering. Their goal is to improve cancer therapies and delivery using genome editing, potential drug targets, and gene-targeted therapies to treat HPC brain tumors. They came up with a 3-part solution:

  • Target and suppress gene fusion in HPC cells.
  • Identify potential drug targets in the gene fusion cancer cells.
  • Develop gene-targeted therapies to stop the altered gene fusion.

With 25 published peer-reviewed manuscripts in biomechanics and over 70 conference talks, Dr. Hayenga is also a reviewer for many grant and journal organizations. She is funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Tune in on Wednesday, June 15th, to the Research 411 Talk Show: Correcting Cancer Using Targeted Genetic Therapies