There are certain genes called “oncogenes” that when over expressed in cells can result in several deadly forms of cancers. Cancer patients with high oncogene levels show poor survival and have no defined cure. Therefore, there is an urgent clinical need for new therapies to treat these cancers. We are developing ways to selectively target oncogene-high cancer cells, while leaving normal cells unaffected.
DNA replication is important for cell survival. Our results suggest that oncogene-high cancers face many problems during DNA replication. These observations suggest that these cancers can be more dependent on pathways that allow them to fix the problems during DNA replication. Therefore, inhibiting these pathways will selectively kill oncogene-high cancer cells. In this grant, we will: (i) identify how oncogene-high cancers deal with problems in DNA replication and manage to survive; and (ii) identify why cancer cells with high oncogene levels do not respond to traditional cancer therapies. Our results can help find new ways to treat this high-risk group of patients who have little to no cure.