Exploiting DNA repair defects found in cancer cells for treatment with topoisomerase poisons and nucleoside analogues

Student: Martina Salerno
Supervisor: Dr Edgar Hartsuiker
Location: Bangor University
Cancer Type: All
Start and end date: Nov 17 – Nov 20

The overall aim of the project is to improve cancer outcomes by exploiting DNA repair defects frequently found in cancer cells for therapy. Specifically they will screen for and develop a novel inhibitor (a gene whose presence prevents the expression of another gene at a different location) which the team have previously shown to be important for natural resistance against two clinically important groups of DNA damaging agents.

The specific inhibitor gene will also be used to identify potential synthetic lethal interactions with other repair mutations or DNA repair inhibitors in human cells.

Results from this research will allow tailoring the choice of DNA damaging agents to specific repair defects found in tumours (personalised medicine) and exploitation of defects in DNA repair pathways with small molecule inhibitors (synthetic lethality). The proposed project brings together expertise in drug design and cancer drug resistance mechanisms and has real potential to improve cancer outcomes.

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