In This Section

AACR-Bayer Fellowships

The AACR-Bayer Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training (START) Grants represent an exciting initiative to encourage and support collaboration between academia and industry. This novel model provides support for three years to postdoctoral and clinical research fellows working on a mentored cancer research project and includes one year spent on site at a Bayer facility. The combined academic and industry training provided through this program will be invaluable to young investigators, allowing them to attain a comprehensive research experience. Projects must have direct applicability and relevance to clinical translation and development in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.

2018 Grantees

AACR-Bayer Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training (START) Grant
Mark P. Labrecque, PhD

Mark P. Labrecque, PhD

Senior Fellow
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington
FGF and AR pathway inhibition in AR-expressing CRPC

Scientific Statement of Research
Prostate cancer cell survival and proliferation are driven by androgen receptor (AR) function. Despite the implementation of potent AR pathway inhibitors, the majority of tumors recur as metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The proposed research is guided by the hypothesis that AR-expressing mCRPC bypass AR pathway blockade through activation of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) pathway. Thus, combined FGF and AR pathway inhibition will be more effective at preventing tumor cell proliferation and survival than AR inhibitor monotherapy. Dr. Labrecque will investigate the efficacy of FGF and AR pathway inhibitors alone or in combination in AR-expressing CRPC cell lines, organoids and preclinical patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Additionally, the mechanisms driving combination therapy response and resistance will be determined through deep molecular profiling of treatment-resistant cell lines and PDX tumors. The overarching goal of the research is to support a combination therapy clinical trial in men with AR-expressing mCRPC.

Biography
Dr. Labrecque received his BSc in Cell Biology and Genetics from the University of British Columbia and his PhD in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University. His doctoral research was supported through a Prostate Cancer Canada fellowship and focused on transcription factor crosstalk and the role of the retinoblastoma protein in hypoxic tumor microenvironments. In 2017, he joined the Department of Urology at the University of Washington as an Institute for Prostate Cancer Research postdoctoral fellow. Currently, he uses metastatic biospecimens, patient-derived xenograft models and in vitro approaches to understand and target the molecular underpinnings driving treatment-resistance in advanced prostate cancer.

Acknowledgement of Support
I am profoundly thankful and honored to be awarded an AACR-Bayer START Grant. This generous support and the opportunity to train with an industry leader like Bayer will be instrumental for my career development and will hopefully lead to better therapies for men with advanced prostate cancer.

AACR-Bayer Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training (START) Grant
Shyamal Subramanyam, PhD

Shyamal Subramanyam, PhD

Research Fellow
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Targeting CHK2 regulation of BRCA1 in DNA end resection for novel therapies

Scientific Statement of Research
A large percentage of cancers have mutated genes involved in DNA repair and homologous recombination. The cellular capacity to repair DNA damage via homologous recombination depends on a process called DNA end resection, defects in which cause severe genomic instability often leading to cancer. Utilizing genome editing tools to precisely calculate the extent of DNA resection, Dr. Subramanyam aims to determine how DNA end resection is regulated. These studies complement his second aim, where through live cell super-resolution microscopy he plans to characterize the spatio-temporal dynamics of proteins involved in DNA end resection. These studies allow real time visualization of DNA end resection in response to induced DNA damage. Precise understanding of this process will aid in development and validation of the mechanisms of inhibitors targeting end resection. These inhibitors can be utilized toward combination therapy with existing drugs, exploiting synergistic lethality in cancers that are resistant to standard treatment.

Biography
Growing up in India, Dr. Subramanyam was introduced to the world of experimental biology at a very young age. This led him to pursue an undergraduate program in biotechnology at Visvesvaraya Technological University. While working at the Biocon Bristol-Myers Research Center in India, Dr. Subramanyam contributed to several early drug discovery programs and discovered a keen interest in cancer biology. He later moved to the United States (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) to pursue his graduate studies where, in Dr. Maria Spies’s lab, he focused on understanding molecular mechanisms in DNA repair at a single molecule level in vitro. Dr. Subramanyam’s postdoctoral research focuses on building on his experiences from graduate school to visualize molecular mechanisms of DNA repair within living cells. In his spare time, he likes to explore wildernesses around the world and to experience new cultures. At home, he is trying to teach himself how to play the guitar and learn two languages.

Acknowledgement of Support
I thank the committee for appreciating and generously supporting my proposed work for the 2018 AACR-Bayer Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training Grant. In addition to facilitating my development as an independent scientist, I hope we can make significant inroads into further understanding the fundamental mechanisms that regulate DNA repair.