Dana Farber Cancer Institute recognizes National Cancer Center for funding its young research scientists

The National Cancer Center (NCC) recently awarded grants totaling $160,000 to four Dana-Farber researchers pursuing studies into various types of cancer.

Carmen Adriaens, MSc, PhD, is studying DNA methylation, an essential process in regulating gene expression. When cells rapidly grow and replicate, their DNA can become hypomethylated, which causes lethal changes in gene expression, leading to cancer. Adriaens uses a novel inhibitor that induces DNA hypomethylation as a tool to find new therapies for cancer.

Narek Darabedian, PhD, is working to develop a new class of targeted therapeutics for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by systematically identifying druggable metabolic targets in the creatine kinase (CK) family of enzymes, which he believes holds great potential for a potent drug against AML.

Jiao Li, PhD, is working to identify a new therapeutic target in translocation renal cell carcinoma (tRCC), a highly aggressive subtype of kidney cancer for which there are currently no approved therapies. Her research into the PKD1L2 gene aims to lay the groundwork for future clinical trials.

Varadha Balaji Venkadakrishnan, PhD, is studying a mechanism of treatment resistance called lineage plasticity, which is seen in up to 20% of late-stage prostate cancers. He aims to pinpoint precisely how prostate cancer changes its identity during treatment resistance, which could help inform novel treatment strategies. “As executive director of National Cancer Center, it has been my honor to be able to fund young scientists to do their work in basic research,” said Regina English of NCC. “It has always been difficult for them to secure funding from other private, governmental, and institutional funders. NCC is proud and thrilled to fill that critical gap by supporting Dana-Farber s brilliant researchers.”

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