This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Edwin Ostrin, M.D., Ph.D.

Edwin Ostrin
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Enzyme May Play Role in Worsening Immune Function in Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer Discovery Award

Immune cells can keep a cancer from growing, and evading the immune system is a key step in cancer development. An essential amino acid called tryptophan is needed by immune cells. Depletion of tryptophan or accumulation of its breakdown products can lead to impaired immune cell function, and therefore faster tumor growth and poorer prognosis. Lung cancer cells metabolize tryptophan using an enzyme called kynureninase (KYNU). Lung cancers showing high levels of KYNU have worse outcomes. We will study whether lung cancers showing high levels of KYNU have worse outcomes because the depletion of tryptophan and accumulation of its breakdown products lead to worse immune function. We will also look for a sign of KYNU activation in the blood, which may be a marker for patients with more aggressive cancers. Since we believe these cancers are evading the immune system, our research may lead to therapy to reactivate the immune system that is more effective in these lung cancer patients.

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.


Breathe Easy

Give today and your tax-deductible gift will go TWICE as far for everyone who struggles to breathe.