Researchers at The Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) recently received a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to address unmet needs regarding endometrial and kidney cancers.
The director of the Texas A&M IBT, Cheryl Lyn Walker, Ph.D., along with fellow researchers Peter Davies, Ph.D., Shuxing Zhang, Ph.D. and Scott Gilbertson, Ph.D., were awarded a $1,999,979 grant to translate their advances in the lab into novel drugs that can address the needs regarding both kidney and uterine cancers.
This grant will be used to fund the project for three years in order to develop drugs that can target the tumor suppressor protein, or p27, and lead to a new method for treating patients suffering from p27-deficient cancers such as renal cell carcinoma and endometrial carcinoma (and prostate and breast cancer in the future). There are no therapies for the late stages of p27-deficient cancers; these diseases have low survival rates that are urgently needed to be addressed.
The project will involve increasing the levels of p27 within the nucleus of cells, stopping cancer growth, without increasing p27 levels in the cytoplasm. Walker explained: “This tumor suppressor protein has been a potential therapeutic target for at least a decade, but, until now, no one has figured out a way to very specifically increase p27 in the nucleus to block cancer growth. CPRIT is providing support during this early, critical stage to translate our discovery into drug development, and move it forward into preclinical testing to combat cancer, support that is difficult if not impossible to get elsewhere.”