Development of novel strategies for concurrent blockade of emphysema and
Prof. Ho-Young Lee
Current Research Interests
Emphysema and lung cancer, which share common etiology (smoking and air pollutants) and pathophysiology (involvement of immune cells in the microenvironment), often arise in the same person. In addition, airway stem/progenitor cells, cancer initiating cells (CICs; presumably derived from airway stem cells with genetic changes), and their reciprocal interaction with immune cells in the lung microenvironment have been implicated in the formation and progression of emphysema and lung cancer. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that both diseases stem from common origins and, as a corollary, blocking key operative mechanisms for the diseases may retard disease progression. However, the evidence for lung stem cells being the common origins of emphysema and lung cancer and the mechanistic explanation for the link between these two pulmonary diseases are largely inadequate.
Based on these findings, we will investigate the mechanism underlying the development of emphysema and lung cancer caused by various etiological factors including cigarette smoking, air pollution, and chronic stress. In addition, we will discover key molecular signatures involved in the evolution of emphysema to lung cancer and develop novel target-based pharmacological strategies that inhibit development of emphysema, lung cancer, or both using drug repositioning, virtual screening, and assay-based in-house chemical library screening.