Stephen Elledge, PhD, and his team did not set out to find therapies that could render tumors less resistant to therapy or make existing drugs more potent against a rare form of cancer. But these are precisely the clinical insights that their most recent study has yielded.
The team set out to explore cancer drivers that allow NUT midline carcinoma – a rare, aggressive cancer that can arise in multiple organs – to become impervious to drugs.
Their results, published recently in Genes & Development, may apply to several forms of cancer fueled by the same mutated driver gene, and their approach may be applicable to other types of cancer whose genomes have been sequenced.
“Our idea here was to take a cancer that’s dependent on a particular gene, turn that gene off, and see what replaces it,” said Elledge, Gregor Mendel professor of Genetics and of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
That idea led to new biological insights, which in turn led to preclinical work that has set the stage for a clinical trial for patients with NUT midline carcinoma.
“We always hope that our findings will turn into something that can help
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