NIH Award Advances Drug Discovery Research into Chemotherapy-Associated Kidney Injury

Portrait of Jianjun Zhao

Jianjun Zhao, MD, PhD, has received a five-year, nearly $2.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, to investigate a new approach for treating chemotherapy-associated kidney damage.

In study results published last year, Dr. Zhao and his team found that the protein APE2 may be a viable target to help treat or prevent acute kidney injury among patients treated with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. As many as a quarter of all cancer patients treated with cisplatin will develop the condition.

“We found that genetically knocking out APE2 in preclinical models treated with cisplatin significantly reduced cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury, suggesting that pharmacologically targeting the protein may be a viable approach to treating the condition in humans,” said Zhao, assistant staff in the Department of Cancer Biology and member of the Molecular Oncology Program of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. “With this new award, we will develop small molecules that can target APE2 and test how effective they are in disrupting mechanisms of disease.”

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