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Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Awards granted for pioneering ideas in cancer research
Date:2/2/2011

in the field of cancer research regard these master regulators as the most desirable targets for drug discovery. Unfortunately, developing drugs against these proteins has proven to be technically difficult.

Dr. Bradner is using new chemical approaches to develop small molecule drugs directed at the master regulators of cancer cell growth. The primary focus of his efforts is a master regulator called Myc. Abnormal activation of Myc is one of the most common events in all human cancers. By targeting Myc in cancer cells, he hopes to discover new, prototype drugs that can be used as more effective targeted anti-cancer agents.

Joshua E. Elias, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

A great deal of cancer research focuses on investigating the methods by which tumors cope with damage to their DNA. Less is known about the ways cancer cells deal with damage to any of the thousands of proteins necessary for cell survival. Cancerous cells often occupy environments that subject them to numerous stresses, including oxygen and nutrient depletion, which can lead to protein damage or misfolding. To survive and proliferate in these conditions, cancer cells use specific protective mechanisms to destroy or restore damaged proteins; in contrast, normal cells would die in such surroundings.

Cancer cells may, for example, activate degradation pathways to do away with dysfunctional proteins. Dr. Elias proposes that cancer cells may also promote long-term survival by dividing asymmetrically, thus producing one daughter cell free of damaged proteins. To test these ideas, he will measure the lifetimes of damaged proteins, model the processes cancer cells use to dispose of proteins, and investigate the ways by which these methods contribute to tumor formation. By understanding the mechanisms cancer cells depend on to escape death and promote growth, he hopes to discover new treatments and diagnostics, a
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Contact: Yung S. Lie, Ph.D.
yung.lie@damonrunyon.org
212-455-0521
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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