GALVESTON, Texas - University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researcher Jingwu Xie has received a five-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to advance his research on the molecular basis of hedgehog signaling and its role in the development of cancers. The hedgehog signaling pathway is frequently activated in human cancers, including most basal cell skin cancers and nearly a third of non-skin tumors. A large proportion of these tumors are caused by environmental carcinogens, such as UV irradiation, auto exhaust fumes and asbestos fibers. According to Xie, understanding the molecular basis of hedgehog signaling could potentially lead to new medical diagnoses and treatments for cancer. "Determining the mechanisms of signal transduction in this pathway, the long-term goal of this project, will have widespread clinical implications for cancer control," said Xie.