Wei Tong Laboratory

Led by Wei Tong, PhD, researchers in the Tong Laboratory are studying cytokine receptor signaling in hematopoietic stem/progenitor development. They’re also working to decipher the underlying molecular mechanisms by which dysregulation of these pathways contribute to the oncogenesis of certain high-risk pediatric leukemias. The long term goal of the research conducted in this laboratory is to unravel these molecular mechanisms and explore new therapeutic strategies to treat children with high-risk leukemias.

Ongoing studies in the Tong Laboratory demonstrated that the lymphocyte adaptor protein LNK (also called SH2B3) is a powerful negative regulator of the cytokine-mediated JAK 2 signaling pathway in hematopoietic stem cells. Loss-of-function and germline LNK mutations in transgenic mouse models resulted in the development of leukemias that resemble high-risk Philadelphia-chromosome-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like ALL).

Additional studies using transgenic mice revealed that LNK deficiencies or mutations may dysregulate other kinase signaling pathways such as MAPK and PI13K/AKT/mTOR that contribute to the development of pediatric ALL.

Future studies in the Tong Laboratory will continue to focus on the use of existing and new transgenic mouse models of ALL to further characterize the molecular mechanisms that contribute to development of pediatric Ph-like ALL and to identify targeted cancer therapies to treat the disease.