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Targeting chromosomes in cancer

  • Researcher: Dr Maria Blasco
  • Institution: CNIO, Madrid, Spain
  • Award Amount: £249,999 for 3 years from 1 June 2016
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Targeting chromosomes in cancer
Dr Maria Blasco is searching for new drugs which could kill cancer cells by altering their chromosome structure.

Chromosomes are tightly coiled strands of DNA in the cell. Telomeres, which cap the end of the chromosome work much like a cap on the end of a shoelace- stopping the DNA ends from unravelling. Telomeres help keep the chromosome stable and protect it from damage. Without long enough telomeres the chromosome will quickly degrade and the cell will die.

In this project Dr Maria Blasco and her team are searching for novel anticancer compounds which can block the mechanisms needed to keep telomeres stable in cancer cells. They are using high-throughput cell-based systems to screen for suitable candidates, which will then be investigated for their anticancer activity using a number of tests in the lab.
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