Finding the keys to Pandora's Box to attack Achilles' Heels
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Professor Dean Fennell
Department of Cancer Studies & Molecular Medicine
Evasion of cell death is a recognised signature of cancer and contributes fundamentally to drug resistance. In recent years, it has emerged that these strategies used to survive, are also potential vulnerabilities (“Achille’s heels”) which may be efficiently targeted in the clinic, with real benefits for patients. The most effective way to deal with cancers of the lung, and mesothelioma is to induce a biochemical cell suicide programme called apoptosis. In this scenario, mitochondria are major players in this war– and collectively behave as the cancer cell’s ready made “pandoras box”. Finding the keys to unleash apoptosis is not trivial but here, massive advances are being made. Furthermore, cancer cells can find ways of “changing the lock”. Using lung cancer and mesothelioma, I will show how we are discovering and assessing the tools to both unlock pandoras box and attack Achilles heels. I will show how this strategy is likely to shape the future of therapy for patients with lung cancer and mesothelioma for improved outcomes.