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[OFF-Program] Research on rare genetic diseases to find new therapies for cancer

Andrew R. Tee
Cardiff University, UK



Basic research on Mendelian genetic disorders that impact mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, which has led to understanding novel cancer mechanisms and therapies. Diseases discussed include: Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and Neurofibromatosis type 1, which predispose patients to tumors. This talk is a summary of my scientific journey over the last 20 years and highlights how basic research can improve our fundamental knowledge of cancer mechanisms, leading to new drug targets and therapies.



Prof. Tee was scientifically trained at Dundee and Harvard University to understand cellular mechanisms involving the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). His main research strength is uncovering new cell signaling mechanisms and dissecting these pathways at the protein level. Such fundamental work is necessary to better understand human disease, and he employs genetic models to do this, such as Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). He first became interested in TSC at Harvard University (in Prof. John Blenis’s lab) and made some landmark discoveries regarding delineation of the TSC1/2->Rheb->mTORC1 signaling pathway. He is considered a leading expert on Rheb, and has an established lab that works on TSC and mTORC1. His strong cellular biology research background on TSC and mTORC1 signaling fits strategically into the current research on TSC within the Division of Cancer and Genetics. He completed a prestigious 6-year Career Development Award from the Association of International Cancer Research (AICR) to identify and characterize novel substrates of mTOR that could open up new therapeutic targets. From this productive career development award, his research team published 15 research manuscripts relating to new signaling mechanisms involving mTORC1 and TSC. More recently, his main focus is to determine and characterize the vulnerabilities of TSC-diseased cells with the intention to improve on the therapeutic options for TS patients. Pathways of expertise include signaling pathways involved in hypoxia, autophagy, endoplasmic reticulum stress, protein translation, and transcription control.



Host: Miguel Ángel Pujana - Breast Cancer Group