Grants - Massachusetts - Designated Grants - 2020

Adam Bass, MD

Funded by Gastric Cancer Foundation

This application focuses upon the need to develop new therapies for stomach cancer, which is the 3rd leading cause of cancer mortality in the world.  In our laboratory’s prior studies, we described the patterns of disruptions in the genome (or DNA of the cell) that develop in the stomach cells which become cancerous.  The overall hope for this work is that finding the genetic causes of cancer can be a source of development of new targets for guiding cancer therapy.  The primary way to try to use genomic understanding of cancer to guide therapy has been to find specific genes which are aberrantly activated in cancer.  However, to date, approaches to use this approach to guide therapy for stomach cancer has been largely disappointing despite individual successes.  Therefore, this new research program supported by the V Foundation and the Gastric Cancer Foundation aims to develop alternative approaches to use our understanding of the gastric cancer genome to guide development of new therapies.  Instead of focusing on the genomic alterations that impact individual genes, we are now pivoting to more broadly evaluating the patterns of genomic alterations and the classes of instability or genomic disruptions that occur in cells.  We have developed new approaches to classify the types of genomic disruptions that are characteristic of gastric cancer and then directly connecting these patterns to possible new therapeutic targets.  We believe that this work may serve as a critical foundation for novel development of therapies for these deadly cancers.