CCK Friday Seminar: David A. Frank, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, USA
Oncogenic Transcription Factors in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Cancer
The Frank group focuses on the intracellular signaling events that control the growth and differentiation of normal and malignant cells. STAT transcription factors regulate the expression of genes that control critical cellular processes such as proliferation, surival, differentiation, angiogenesis, and invasion. While STAT activation is tightly regulated under physiologic conditions, the Frank group showed that STATs can become constitutively activated in a wide variety of human cancers, and this drives their malignant cellular behavior. The Frank group is developing targeted molecular inhibitors of STATs and other transcription factors using both rational design and chemical-biology approaches. They have initiated the first clinical trial of a small molecule STAT3 inhibitor identified in their lab for patients with leukemias driven by activated STAT3, and are developing other novel approaches for targeting the underlying molecular defects in cancer cells.