The overall organizing hypothesis of this Program posits that bioactive sphingolipids function as important regulators of several key tumor cell attributes, including tumor initiation, differentiation, growth, apoptosis, senescence, inflammation, invasion, and metastasis. As a corollary, enzymes of sphingolipid metabolism are emerging as specific and novel targets in modulating these important cancer attributes. Unfortunately, the study of bioactive lipids is rife with complications, both conceptual and technical and thus the study of lipids necessitates the collaborative interactions of various disciplines and specialized cores. Thus, we have evolved 4 distinct projects that collaborate to investigate the overall hypothesis: Project 1 will address the specific hypothesis that acid sphingomyelinase defines a novel pathway of cancer cell biology involving two specific mediators, the chemokine RANTES and the cytokine IL6, with important roles in cancer inflammation and metastasis. Project 2 will test the specific hypothesis that alkaline ceramidase 1 acts as a tumor suppressor in non-melanoma skin cancers and its downregulation promotes skin tumorigenesis by stimulating hyperproliferation of epidermal keratinocytes. Project 3 will test the hypothesis that loss of Sphingosine Kinase 1 is a key event in mediating the tumor suppressor effects of P53, especially on the induction of senescence. Project 4 will test the hypothesis that BCR-ABL1 transcriptionally regulates SMS1 and that elevated SMS1 activity sustains the tumorigenic potential of BCR-ABL1 positive cells. These 4 projects will be supported by two unique research cores: The Lipidomics Core which will provide analytical and synthetic lipid chemistry, and by a Sphingolipid Animal Cancer Pathobiology Core that focuses on mutants/knock outs in enzymes of sphingolipid metabolism and models of in vivo carcinogenesis. This Program group has been highly integrated and productive and has advanced significantly our understanding of sphingolipids (one of the last frontiers of basic research) in caner biology and therapeutics. We are now poised to advance pre-clinical studies and translational research based on our understanding of these novel pathways. These studies continue to identify novel targets and strategies for cancer therapeutics.

Public Health Relevance

The Program focuses on the study of novel molecules that derive from the metabolism of fat molecules present in the cell. We have been working on discovering these molecules, how they work, and what they do in the regulation of cancer cell growth, aging, and metastasis. We bring together 4 highly collaborative groups that work closely with each other with a primary focus on understanding the pathways that regulate these molecules and their functions in human cancer. We particularly aim at defining vulnerable points in these pathways as novel targets for the development of rational and new therapies. We have also developed two outstanding shared resources that support these projects and many other investigators across the nation: a lipid core focused on developing novel molecules and on measuring the various lipid molecules, and an animal pathobiology core that allows us to begin translating our novel results into specific human diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-RPRB-J (M1))
Program Officer
Arya, Suresh
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
State University New York Stony Brook
Schools of Medicine
Stony Brook
United States
Zip Code
Adada, Mohamad; Canals, Daniel; Hannun, Yusuf A et al. (2014) Sphingolipid regulation of ezrin, radixin, and moesin proteins family: implications for cell dynamics. Biochim Biophys Acta 1841:727-37
Jones, E Ellen; Dworski, Shaalee; Canals, Daniel et al. (2014) On-tissue localization of ceramides and other sphingolipids by MALDI mass spectrometry imaging. Anal Chem 86:8303-11
Jiang, Wenhui; Ogretmen, Besim (2014) Autophagy paradox and ceramide. Biochim Biophys Acta 1841:783-92
Truman, Jean-Philip; García-Barros, Mónica; Obeid, Lina M et al. (2014) Evolving concepts in cancer therapy through targeting sphingolipid metabolism. Biochim Biophys Acta 1841:1174-88
Garcia-Barros, Monica; Coant, Nicolas; Truman, Jean-Philip et al. (2014) Sphingolipids in colon cancer. Biochim Biophys Acta 1841:773-82
Boppana, Nithin B; Kodiha, Mohamed; Stochaj, Ursula et al. (2014) Ceramide synthase inhibitor fumonisin B1 inhibits apoptotic cell death in SCC17B human head and neck squamous carcinoma cells after Pc4 photosensitization. Photochem Photobiol Sci 13:1621-7
Perry, David M; Newcomb, Benjamin; Adada, Mohamad et al. (2014) Defining a role for acid sphingomyelinase in the p38/interleukin-6 pathway. J Biol Chem 289:22401-12
Korbelik, Mladen; Banáth, Judit; Sun, Jinghai et al. (2014) Ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate act as photodynamic therapy-elicited damage-associated molecular patterns: cell surface exposure. Int Immunopharmacol 20:359-65
Korbelik, Mladen; Zhang, Wei; Saw, Kyi Min et al. (2013) Cationic ceramides and analogues, LCL30 and LCL85, as adjuvants to photodynamic therapy of tumors. J Photochem Photobiol B 126:72-7
Cheng, Joseph C; Bai, Aiping; Beckham, Thomas H et al. (2013) Radiation-induced acid ceramidase confers prostate cancer resistance and tumor relapse. J Clin Invest 123:4344-58

Showing the most recent 10 out of 119 publications