To develop new treatments for cancer, cancer-causing proteins within the cell must be identified and then neutralized with targeted drugs. Cancer-causing proteins interact with other proteins through a "molecular handshake" between contact points embedded in the proteins' complex architecture. Walensky will bring together multiple fields - chemistry, biology and cancer drug development - to deploy a technology that can rapidly and precisely identify cancer-causing proteins and their malignant interaction sites. Modified natural peptides will be used to bind to and capture the target proteins, with the goal of cataloging the full range of cancer-causing interactions. Information about the critical molecular contact points identified through this method can be used to develop new drugs that interfere with the molecular handshake, thus providing a critical link between cancer protein discovery and cancer drug development.
Loren D. Walensky, M.D., Ph.D., attending physician and assistant professor of pediatrics in the Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
Watch a video interview of Loren D. Walensky, M.D., Ph.D.
Updated: Mar. 18, 2010