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Henning Willers, MD

Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School

Radiation Oncologist, MGH Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital

Contact Info

Henning Willers
Massachusetts General Hospital
100 Blossom Street
Boston, MA, 02114
Mailstop: Cox 3
Phone: 617-726-8162
Fax: 617-724-8320
Email not available


Not Available.

DF/HCC Program Affiliation

Lung Cancer

Research Abstract

In the Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, main areas of basic and translational research include DNA repair and molecular targeting.

Our interests are: (1) Study of the genetic determinants and molecular mechanisms of DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. DSBs represent the most important type of DNA damage inflicted by ionizing radiation or various chemotherapeutic agents. If DSBs are not repaired properly, they can either lead to cell death, or produce genetic changes in the surviving cells, which may promote cancer development. Thus, cancer cells with defective or deregulated DSB repair may be hypersensitive to many DNA damaging agents. (2) Study of the mechanisms by which activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by irradiation makes cancer cells resistant to radiation.

We are particularly interested in the p53, BRCA1, and Fanconi Anemia (FA) genes, which are commonly inactivated in sporadic cancers, including lung cancer. We study how these genes regulate DSB repair by employing functional assays in living cells. We also would like to improve our understanding of how these repair pathways interact with signal transduction pathways controlled by the EGFR.

The ultimate goal is to identify repair and signaling processes in cancer cells that may serve as molecular targets for novel combination therapies.


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