Tyler Jacks, PhD
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Jacks’ research focuses on the genetics of cancer through the construction and characterization of tumor development in mice. His group has been able to model various human tumor syndromes by producing mice with mutations in several tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes, and genes involved in cell cycle control and apoptosis (programmed cell death). One mouse strain has a K-ras gene mutation, which is similar to a mutation found in some lung, colon, and pancreatic cancers. Another strain, which may be his most important, involves p53, a tumor-suppressor gene that is mutated in most human cancers. p53 can be reactivated with the cancer drug tamoxifen. Understanding how to find and regulate these mutations is leading to new methods of cancer detection and treatment.
Modeling Cancer in the Mouse
Tyler E. Jacks, PhD, and Cancer Center Director Michelle Le Beau, PhD