Lipid Signaling and Metabolism in Cancer

Program Leader

Chiara Luberto, PhD

Chiara Luberto, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Physiology and Biophysics,
Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University

Overview

Lipids are a central building block of living organisms. They provide energy and are structural components of cell membranes; importantly, they are also part of the network of intracellular and extracellular signals that allow cells to properly function and communicate.

The Lipid Signaling and Metabolism in Cancer (LSMC) Program at Stony Brook University Cancer Center is one of only a handful nationwide that conducts pioneering research showing how cancer cells subvert and rewire lipid metabolism to establish themselves, grow, adapt to changes, metastasize and elude the host’s immune defense.

Researchers in the LSMC program are identifying which lipid pathways and intersecting metabolites constitute a vulnerability for cancer cells and can be exploited to design innovative cancer therapeutics. Ultimately, the goal of LSMC research is to provide breakthrough cancer care to Long Island and tristate area residents, eventually impacting national and international cancer treatment as well.

Program Goals

The LSMC Program has two overarching goals:

  • Define novel roles for lipid pathways and intersecting metabolism in cancer pathogenesis and elucidate their regulation and mechanisms of action. LSMC members are discovering pathways of lipid metabolism as key regulators of specific cancer hallmarks while linking them to novel functions for bioactive lipids. Using specialized technologies, including many developed within the program, they are establishing new connections between cancer lipids and other intersecting metabolic nodes. Finally, they are defining novel mechanisms of regulation of these pathways, including as mediators of oncogenic drivers.
  • Build on new knowledge of cancer lipid and intersecting metabolism gained in Aim 1 to develop novel pre-clinical anticancer applications. A fundamental goal of the LSMC program is to bridge the basic science discoveries arising from the first aim to pre-clinical anticancer applications. The most promising metabolic regulatory nodes identified in Aim 1 are being exploited to develop novel anticancer drugs, to identify biomarkers and diagnostics/prognostic markers, and to craft innovative therapeutic approaches to prevent and/or control cancer growth (such as dietary interventions) or to alleviate complications arising from anticancer treatment.

Program Members