With the help of ATF funding, Loren Walensky, MD, PhD, is applying novel compounds to dissect and manipulate the cell signaling pathways that are integral in apoptosis in order to reactivate them to overcome cancer.
Walensky inserted a chemical “staple” into a natural but otherwise unstable cell-killing peptide. This reactivated the apoptosis cell-signaling pathway in leukemia cells. When the stapled peptide was injected into mice, it suppressed human-type leukemia. Compounds such as this one are now used to study the interactions of proteins inside cells, giving scientists a “molecular toolbox” to study and to potentially treat cancer and other diseases.
“Alex’s Team” funding supports researchers and interns in Dr. Walensky’s Laboratory.