Control of apoptotic cell death in cancer (Novel Anti-Cancer Therapies)
The long-term goals of my laboratory are to understand how cancers arise and to develop better approaches for their diagnosis and treatment. Our focus is on the regulation of apoptosis by the Bcl-2 family.
In collaboration with other scientists at the institute, members of my laboratory are unravelling the mechanisms by which members of the Bcl-2 family determine whether a cell lives or dies. Precisely how Bcl-2 restrains essential cell death mediators Bax and Bak is unclear and how Bax and Bak become activated to drive apoptosis is also uncertain. Elucidating the key steps in cell death signalling is essential for understanding how cell death is regulated physiologically.
We are actively translating the knowledge we have gained so far into efforts to target Bcl-2 or its pro-survival relatives for treating patients with cancers (e.g. leukaemias, lymphomas) and identifying potential mechanisms why such small molecule inhibitors might fail.
Our laboratory studies how cell death is regulated, with a particular interest in how errors in the control of apoptotic cell death contribute to cancer.
Our research is focused on discovering and developing novel anti-cancer therapies that restore the ability of cancer cells to undergo apoptosis, and how these can be used for treating patients with cancer.