Medicine- Pulmonary Diseases
Dr. David Shackelford's career in cancer research began studying acute myelogenous leukemia at Brandeis University, where he received his PhD. He did his postdoc in Dr. Reuben Shaws lab at The Salk Institute, where he began studying signal transduction and metabolism during carcinogenesis of solid tumors. His research is translational in focus and integrates the study of human tumors and genetically engineered mouse models of cancer. His goals are to uncover the molecular mechanisms driving lung carcinogenesis, developing new in vitro and in vivo cancer models, and identifying new personalized therapies to treat cancer based on the tumors genetic and molecular alterations. Dr. Shackelford's current work on lung tumors focuses on exploiting the tumors Achilles heel, which is a dependence on oncogenic signaling and high rates of cellular metabolism. In a recent study he has demonstrated a previously unrecognized vulnerability in non-small cell lung tumors to undergo tumor cell death following treatment with the metabolic therapeutic phenformin. Their study opens up the possibility of repurposing therapeutics, originally designed to treat metabolic disease to be used as anti-cancer agents in the clinic.