Webster K. Cavenee

University of California, San Diego


Election Year: 1997
Primary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

I am a molecular geneticist who studies the role of genetic lesions in the development of human cancer. Neoplastic disease is the result of initiating mutations which set the process in motion and progression-related mutations which cause increasing malignancy. We have identified the mechanisms of initiation by studying the pediatric tumor, retinoblastoma. We showed that this is caused by the inactivation of a tumor suppressor gene, that similar events occur in a wide variety of human cancers, and that such information can be used to predict disease occurrence. Our efforts in cancer progression have been mainly involved with malignant brain tumors. These studies have defined the nature and order of mutations which drive the process. Moreover, our analysis of the functional significance of these mutations to tumor cells is allowing us to identify potential pharmacologic approaches toward disease management.

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