Tianjin Key Laboratory of Molecular Cancer Epidemiology

[History and Mission] The key laboratory of molecular cancer epidemiology of Tianjin was established basing on the Epidemiology department in Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute & Hospital since 2018. Currently, there are 33 faculties in this key lab, the leading PI is Professor Kexin Chen. The major research focus in this key lab is cancer epidemiology and etiology, and the top three cancer sites mostly studied here are breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and gastric cancer.

[Research Resources] For breast cancer, we are taking the lead of a national breast cancer screening program, and more than 300,000 women from all around China participated in this program. Research on the association between non-coding RNAs and breast cancer risk is our traditional project, and during the past several years we have been trying to identify SNPs within microRNA binding sites and SNPs within lincRNA sequences associated with breast cancer. We are also doing next generation sequencing on bilateral breast cancer and triple negative breast cancer, try to identify novel somatic mutations in breast cancer cases. Finally, we have established a breast cancer cohort including more than ten thousand breast cancer cases, and we will continue to follow up these patients for a long time to research on the prognosis of breast cancer.For ovarian cancer, we are taking the lead of a genome wide association study, and this is a national collaboration among five well-known cancer centers in China. In this study, we have identified four SNPs significantly associated with ovarian cancer risk. After that we have applied for money to do functional studies, investigating into the mechanism of the association. Also for ovarian cancer, we are supported by the National Natural & Science Foundation to do an international collaboration project on genome-wide DNA methylation, to identify molecular subtypes of ovarian cancer from an epigenetics perspective.For gastric cancer, we have recently performed a whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing study and classified gastric cancer into high-clone and low-clone subtypes that significantly associated with survival. We performed an integrated microRNA and mRNA expression profiling study, and we found that the miR-200 family regulatory network plays an important role on gastric cancer survival. [Core Facilities] The laboratory covers a research area of approximately 1,400 m2 with 8 core technical platforms in which major equipment are open to researchers to use: the cell biology technology platform, the molecular biology technology platform, the biochip technology platform, the biological therapy technology platform, the molecular epidemiology technology platform, the experimental oncology technology platform, the tissue bank and the serum sample database.

[Research Teams] The laboratory has16 principal investigators across the hospital and the affiliated Tianjin Medical University. They include talents majored in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Bio-informatics, Molecular biology, Pathology and Clinics.This is a strong research team for multi-disciplinary study in cancer molecular Epidemiology.

[Research Achievements] In recent years, the laboratory has published research papers in famous journals such as Cancer Cell,Lancet Oncology, JAMA Oncology, Annals of Oncology, Nature Genetics,and PNAS, and won the Tianjin Science and Technology Progress Special Award,Chinese Anti-cancer Association Award and other prestigious awards.

[International Collaborations] Collaboration is an important feature of this key lab, and we have good cooperation experiences with professors from MD Anderson, Yale, and Harvard. We sincerely hope that we may have the opportunity to collaborate with scientists in this area from all around the world in the future.

[Scientific Leaders]

Kexin Chen, MD, Ph.D.

Director, Key Laboratory of Molecular Cancer Epidemiology

Vice-President of Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital

Hongbing Shen, MD, PhD

Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board

President ofNanjing Medical University

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