Developing new strategies for the treatment of childhood cancer based on disabling the structure of the cancer cell.
In this study, the Gunning team continue basic research into the structure of normal and cancer cells and apply knowledge gained in the design of novel chemotherapeutics.
Their targets, tropomyosins, are basic building blocks of the skeleton of all cell types. During the course of this project, the team will focus on a specific tropomyosin, Tm5NM1, which they have identified to be present in most, if not all, cancer cells. They will test the role of this tropomyosin in the growth and regeneration of muscle, driven by resident stem cells, and compare this with the same role in cells derived from the muscle tumour, rhabdomyosarcoma.
Initially anti-tropomyosin drugs developed by the Gunning lab focussed on neuroblastoma, however, the outcome of this project could pave the way to preclinical evaluation for anti-tropomyosin drugs to be used in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma.