Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval
Domaine : cancer
Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2
Approximately one in two Canadians will develop cancer during their lifetime. However, cancer treatments have changed little in the last 30 years. The recent success stories of GLEEVEC and similar drugs has generated considerable interest in generating more inhibitors that work in the same way, although they sometimes lack specificity and tumours can become resistant to them. An alternative approach that is gaining momentum is to target cancer cells specifically while they are dividing, causing cancer-specific cell death as a result of massive chromosome segregation errors. This approach would be not only more effective, but would considerably decrease side-effects as lower doses of each drug would be required, and would decrease the chance of acquiring resistance, when used in combination therapy.
With this mind, my lab is interested in investigating how this approach could be used to target molecules involved in cell division, a process that is invariably disrupted in cancer. We are studying the mechanisms of how the key proteins that guard the integrity of the cell division process are deregulated in cancer cells and how they can be potentially targeted to specifically kill cancer cells and not the healthy neighboring tissue. Our work thus focuses on the basic biology of cancer, but we are also screening for drugs that target some of the proteins we are studying with the ultimate aim of developing new cancer therapeutics. Our research in the basic biology of cancer is therefore directly leading to new advances in the science behind cancer development and translating to tangible benefits for the Canadian public.