C is for cancer and convoluted.


So this is my 5th week of research on Renal Cell Carcinoma and I am slowly beginning to realize just how complicated cancer is. I began my research by focusing on the Warburg Effect, which results in the upregulation of glycolysis and the downregulation of oxidative phosphorylation in cancer (1). I then moved on to the upregulation if hypoxia-inducing factor alpha (HIF-a) in RCC (2). HIF-a upregulates many of the genes involved in RCC and is itself activated by the methylation of the Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene. I am currently tackling the mTORC pathway, which is overactive in RCC and results in the activation of many cancer genes including HIF-a (3). The mTORC pathway also upregulates the transcription of c-Myc, a transcription factor that is involved in many cellular processes. c-Myc seems to be a bit of a double-edged sword in that it simultaneously promotes apoptosis and cell cycle dysregulation (4). Ultimately, it seems that c-Myc is upregulated in RCC to cause tumor progression. Other proteins downstream of c-Myc in the apoptotic pathway, such as p53 seem to be inactivated, leading to the inhibition of apoptosis, which is the case in cancer.

I plan to spend the rest of the summer modeling the RCC pathway and then begin mathematicizing my model in the fall semester.

Also, I’m taking the MCAT in a week. AHHHH!

Good luck with all of your research!!





1. Hamanaka, Robert B., and Navdeep S. Chandel. “Targeting Glucose Metabolism for Cancer Therapy.” The Journal of Experimental Medicine 209, no. 2 (February 13, 2012): 211–215.
2. Hervouet, Eric, Hélène Simonnet, and Catherine Godinot. “Mitochondria and Reactive Oxygen Species in Renal Cancer.” Biochimie 89, no. 9 (September 2007): 1080–1088.
3. Abraham, Robert T., and James J. Gibbons. “The Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Signaling Pathway: Twists and Turns in the Road to Cancer Therapy.” Clinical Cancer Research 13, no. 11 (June 1, 2007): 3109–3114.
4. Larsson, Lars-Gunnar, and Marie Arsenian Henriksson. “The Yin and Yang Functions of the Myc Oncoprotein in Cancer Development and as Targets for Therapy.” Experimental Cell Research316, no. 8 (May 1, 2010): 1429–1437.