Researcher Spotlight: Rui Wu, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare type of NonHodgkin lymphoma and one of the subtypes of A type of white blood cell that participates in immune responses by destroying harmful substances or cells. lymphoma. While current therapies help many patients, as many as 30 percent will have disease which fails to respond to treatment or becomes resistant to therapy. This resistance in ALCL is at least in part caused by an oncogene (a The basic building blocks of heredity that are present in all cells. Genes are comprised of DNA and other materials. capable of transforming a regular cell into a Abnormal cell growth that cannot be controlled by the body's natural defenses. Cancerous cells can grow and eventually form tumors. cell) called NPM-ALK, which also appears to help ALCL cells evade detection by the One of the body's defense mechanisms. All lymphomas are a disease of the immune system., thus allowing the cancer to progress. For her LRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant, Dr. Wu and her collaborators will investigate the mechanism by which NPM-ALK promotes immune evasion in ALK+ ALCL. “Successful
completion of this project will provide significant insights into the immune evasion mechanism regulated by ALK and help design novel therapeutic approaches to reestablish innate immune response in ALK+ ALCL,” Dr. Wu says.
Dr. Wu notes that she has a long-standing interest in lymphoma since the beginning of her medical studies, prompting her
to complete a PhD from the University of Groeningen in The Netherlands, and an MD from Shantou University Medical College in China. Currently, Dr. Wu is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, where she works in the lab of Megan Lim MD, PhD. “Using the experience of this lab my aim is to contribute to better understanding and to find alternative therapeutic strategies for treatment of specific types of lymphoma,” she says.
Dr. Wu has been named the Carl Olsen Postdoctoral Fellow, in memory of an LRF donor with a particular interest in T-cell
lymphoma research. She adds that the Foundation’s funding is key to her goals for both her research and her career. “Lymphoma Research Foundation support will pave a way for me to pursue my research career in lymphoma with the hope of fulfilling my overarching goal to mitigate the therapeutic burden on at least one type of lymphoma,” she says. “This is my first funded fellowship in the United States and will be instrumental to the establishment of my future research career as an independent investigator.