Glioblastome Pathogenesis: cibles et thérapies moléculaires

 

Arezu Jahani-Asl

Institut Lady Davis de recherches médicales de l'Hôpital général juif

 

Domaine : cancer

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2017-2018

Dr. Jahani-Asl is working to develop a new drug for glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of brain tumors in adults. Present treatments for glioblastoma are ineffective and patients die after 16 months of diagnosis. There is therefore an urgent need for better treatments. In order to develop better treatments, a complete understanding of what is going on inside these tumors is a necessary first step. Genetic studies have identified a number of proteins and pathways that regulate tumorigenesis. Dr. Jahani-Asl has studied how these pathways operate in the cancer cell to drive a program that maintains and enhances tumor growth. She has discovered a panel of 272 genes that are key regulators of tumor growth. She has also discovered that a new protein is responsible to drive the expression of these cancer genes and maintain tumor growth by providing a feed-forward signaling mechanism on other pathways.

By genetic studies, she has established that loss of this protein in tumor cells impairs tumorigenesis in mouse models. Based on this knowledge, she now designs new drugs that specifically inhibit this protein and corresponding pathways and investigate if these new drugs can rescue tumorigenesis in mouse that harbor human brain tumors. In addition, she will investigate the functional relevance of the common gene network that she has identified using genetic and pharmacological approaches. She is hoping that this work culminates in identification of new molecular markers and therapeutic targets. The pathway that Dr. Jahani-Asl is targeting in glioblastoma is also deregulated in lung, prostate, breast and other human cancers.

Therefore the therapeutic approach that she is developing not only can result in a cure for glioblastoma patients but it can also serve cancers outside central nervous system. This is a promising approach that can save the lives of many Canadians.