There is promising evidence that genetic studies of cancer will advance the development of new therapies. For example, clinically approved drugs are more likely to target proteins that have been linked to disease traits through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) than proteins with no such links. Indeed, several drugs already used to treat endometrial cancer are known to target proteins that have been linked to genetic variation associated with endometrial cancer risk. To expedite the development of new cancer therapies, we plan to use existing drugs to target proteins that relate to the genetic risk of endometrial and, potentially, other cancers.
To test existing drugs that target the products of genes related to cancer risk for their effects in cancer cell models
We will use CRISPR/Cas9 to knockout druggable genes in cancer cell lines and then treat knockout and wild-type cells with compounds that target the products of the druggable genes. This approach will enable us to determine whether anti-cancer cellular responses are mediated through the druggable gene and also whether the druggable gene has effects on cellular phenotypes that are related to tumorigenesis.
Identification of existing drugs that have anti-cancer effects in cancer cell models would provide the foundation for follow-up studies that assess the effects of these drugs on tumours in animal models.
- PhD project only.