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FGFR-dependent tumour cells and how they develop resistance

  • Researcher: Dr Simon Cook
  • Institution: Babraham Institute
  • Award Amount: £194,819 for 3 years from Macrh 2013
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
FGFR-dependent tumour cells and how they develop resistance
Researchers are increasingly interested in a group of proteins called FGFRs as a means to treat cancer. The FGFR proteins normally give instructions to cells to survive and grow, and they also play an important part in healing wounds. However, the FGFR proteins can also help tumour cells to grow in several cancer types, including breast, stomach, and bladder cancer, as well as multiple myeloma. In these cancers, FGFR proteins are either mutated or they can be found in much higher quantifies than normal. Cells within these tumours become TaddictedU to FGFR proteins, needing them to survive and grow. This represents the tumours' "Achilles heel" and researchers are trying to develop treatments that block the FGFR proteins in the hope that this will also stop cancer growth.

Dr Cook and his research team have identified stomach, bladder, and breast cancer cells that need FGFR to multiply or survive. The growth of these tumour cells is blocked by new drugs that are able to stop FGFR proteins delivering signals that tell tumours to grow. He will use his Worldwide Cancer Research grant to investigate the mechanisms that cause the growth and multiplication of breast and stomach cancer cell lines that are addicted to FGFR proteins, and how those mechanisms respond to new drugs that block FGFR, and will aim to identify the genes that are involved in resistance to the drugs; such genes might be useful for developing new drugs in the future.
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