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Developing novel targets and drugs for cancer therapy in Aotearoa New Zealand

48 months
Approved budget:
Dr Silke Neumann
Dr Cushla McKinney
Health issue:
Cancer (oncology)
Proposal type:
Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship
Lay summary
Cancer is a serious health issue in Aotearoa New Zealand that disproportionately affects Māori and Pacific people, who are often younger at the time of diagnosis and have poorer outcomes than non-Māori New Zealanders. The proposed research programme will investigate a novel target for cancer therapy, which improves survival in some cancers but worsens prognosis in others for reasons that are not well understood. Patient cancer tissue from all ethnicities in Aotearoa New Zealand will be examined to confirm the suitability of this target for drug intervention. Gene tagging technology will determine the cellular localisation of these complexes and investigate the mechanism underlying the contrasting effects in different cancers. Clinically-used drugs will be screened for activity against the target and novel drugs developed. Overall, this research programme has the potential to significantly improve cancer outcomes for all New Zealanders, especially for those with hard-to-treat cancers.