Dr Tan Nguyen

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

What are some of the key findings, progress and discoveries you have made with your research to date – and how will this make a difference to patients with this disease?

I am investigating the role of an unexplored protein called SIDT2 in human disease. During my PhD, our lab discovered that SIDT2 is important during viral infection where it is required to transport viral genetic material called double-stranded RNA from infected cells to uninfected cells in order to initiate an antiviral response. Following on from my PhD, I have now extended this work to explore the role of SIDT2 in cancer.

So far, we have discovered that the loss of SIDT2 leads to decreased tumour burden in lung cancer and intestinal cancer, suggesting that SIDT2 is important for tumour development.

What do you hope to achieve with this research project?

I am working to determine the mechanism by which SIDT2 is promoting cancer growth and whether inhibition of SIDT2 in tumours could be an effective therapeutic option for patients. To do so, we will determine whether loss of SIDT2 in lung cancer cells can enhance the efficacy of various chemotherapeutic drugs,such as 5-FU and cisplatin, to induce cancer cell death.

This work will further expand our knowledge of SIDT2 function in cancer and I am hopeful that this work will one day form the foundation upon which we can develop inhibitors of SIDT2 to help treat patients with lung cancer.

How important was the funding from Lung Foundation Australia to your work?

Funding from Lung Foundation Australia has been instrumental in providing the opportunity for me to continue my PhD research as a postdoctoral scientist at the WEHI. This is an opportunity that not every young scientist is lucky enough to receive, and it has allowed me to perform the additional experiments required to publish this work in an internationally recognised scientific journal.

Do you have a message for Lung Foundation Australia’s supporters?

I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all the supporters and donors of Lung Foundation Australia. Your support of young medical researchers like myself is deeply appreciated. It has allowed me to do what I love, which is to be in the lab and to focus on my research.