Zhu Chen

Shanghai Jiao Tong University


Election Year: 2003
Primary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

As a hematologist, I have devoted myself to the study of pathogeneses and therapies of hematological malignancies, especially acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). In my study, I discovered that arsenic trioxide (As2O3), a traditional Chinese medicine, had a very strong therapeutic effect on APL with high complete remission and disease-free survival rates. Through systematic study on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of As2O3, I found that the compound induces apoptosis or differentiation of APL cells in a dose-dependent manner, and discovered that As2O3 targets PML-RAR , an oncoprotein resulting from APL chromosomal translocation t(15;17) as an essential player in the pathogenesis, and triggers its degradation. More recently, my group demonstrated that induction/maintenance with the combined use of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), a differentiatin inducer, and As2O3 yields a high quality clinical/molecular remission and a better disease-free survival in newly diagnosed patients with APL, as compared to mono-therapy with ATRA or As2O3. This new finding makes APL the first hematological malignancy that could be possibly cured. In addition to my interest in leukemic study, I have been coordinating the human genome program in China. My own group has contributed to the sequencing and gene discovery of human genome, and complete genomic sequencing and annotation of several pathogens such as leptospira interrogans and Schistosoma japonicum. My group also identified the first nasopharyngeal cancer susceptibility locus and the first gene responsible for atrial fibrillation.

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