Dr. Le is a Dermatologist with a scientific and clinical focus in Neurofibromatosis. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Medical Scientist Training Program at UCLA, completed his residency and cancer biology postdoctoral research fellowship at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he is currently an associate professor. As a principal investigator in this Giorgio Foundation funded project, Dr. Le works with other scientists in his laboratory that includes Dr. Juan Mo, Ph.D (postdoctoral fellow); Dr. Andy Chen, M.D., Ph.D. (postdoctoral fellow); and Tracey Shipman (Senior Research Associate) to understand the biology that give rise to cutaneous neurofibroma as well as to develop novel therapeutic targets for these disfiguring tumors.
A lay person’s description of Giorgio Foundation funded project:
Cutaneous neurofibroma is the most common tumor in Neurofibromatosis Type 1. They usually arise at puberty and beyond, can range widely in size and number, and can cause itching, pain, superficial infections as well as psychosocial and cosmetic burdens. Currently, there is no approved therapeutic option for cutaneous neurofibroma aside from elective surgery. The major barriers that impede progress in this field are the lack of accurate models of these common tumors for drug identification and evaluation of factors that are required for their development. In this Giorgio Foundation collaborative project between different laboratories, Dr. Le and his research team leverage on their clinical and laboratory research expertise in neurofibromatosis to generate novel, physiologically relevant mouse and human derived cutaneous neurofibroma models to study what cause these tumors to develop and for therapeutic testing. The next step for Dr. Le and his team is to utilize these reagents to pinpoint the biological steps that are critical for neurofibroma development so that they can be therapeutically targeted to prevent or delay tumor development.