Since my last post, I have definitively showed that Schwann cell lines and MPNST cell lines which lack the cell cycle inhibitor p16 are far more sensitive to SIRT5 depletion than those that express p16. This is important in MPNST treatment since 75% of MPNSTs have mutation in p16 and even some of the premalignant lesions of MPNST exhibit p16 mutations. Crucially, noncancerous Schwann cell lines are not nearly as sensitive to SIRT5 depletion which shows that SIRT5 inhibition is a potential therapeutic approach for treating MPNSTs.
This new data gives my project a clear direction and I can now start the process of determining a mechanism through which lack of p16 may mediate sensitivity to SIRT5 depletion. I will presenting some of my data in a poster session at the 2018 Cancer Biology Retreat this Fall. In addition to my experiments, I have written a grant proposal to secure funding from a biotech company. Progress on my literature review has been slow due to all of this but I am slowly chipping away at it. Given my recent progress, I would say that I am well on my way toward publishing a paper in the coming year. At the very least, I have a very intriguing story about which I can write my honors thesis.