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Nir London, PhD
Weizmann Institute of Science
American Association for Cancer Research
- Seeking novel targets for treatment of triple negative breast cancer.
- An innovative chemistry approach is used to identify potential targets for drug development.
- This study will accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic targets for this aggressive form of breast cancer.
Treatment for triple negative breast cancer is hampered by a lack of a clear molecular target. Dr. London has devised a unique chemical screening technique that allows for rapid detection of potential therapeutic targets. He is using this technique to identify, characterize and validate new therapeutic leads for drug development in triple negative breast cancer.
Full Research Summary
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths. About 15 percent of breast cancer cases each year are classified as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), because they lack the three common molecular markers, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2. Triple negative breast cancers are more aggressive and because there are currently no targeted therapies, patients with TNBC typically have a poor prognosis. The current state of therapeutic options for TNBC stems partly from challenges in understanding what is driving it and a lack of validated molecular targets.
In his American Association of Cancer Research project, supported by BCRF, Dr. London will use an innovative chemical screening approach, devised in his laboratory to identify molecular targets specific to TNBC. Based on these studies, he will develop compounds targeting the newly identified proteins.
In a preliminary screen, his team identified tiny fragments of molecules that selectively killed TNBC cells compared to normal breast cells. The next step is to characterize the chemical nature of these compounds and identify their target proteins within the TNBC cells.
This study utilizes an innovative chemical screening approach that allows for a very rapid advancement of compounds with clinical potential in TNBC. The result of this work will be new validated targets and potential therapeutic leads.
Dr. Nir London is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Organic Chemistry at Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. He received his B.S. degree in Computer Science and Computational Biology and was awarded a Ph.D. in Computational Structural Biology at The Hebrew University, Israel. He completed his postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco where he developed computational tools for covalent chemical probes discovery and applied these to inhibitor and substrate discovery. Dr. London has received many awards and published his research in many high impact journals. His lab is focused on understanding molecular interactions and developing computational tools to use in biological and pharmaceutical research.