The Department of Biomedicine

CCBIO seminar: Krister Wennerberg

Targeting cancers using individual systems medicine

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Krister Wennerberg
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki, Finland

Cancer therapy is increasingly becoming stratified and individualized. Further development of this type of precision cancer medicine is generally expected to be driven by sequencing approaches. However, there are big gaps between the genetic and molecular information we can generate today and what can be translated to the clinic. The Individualized Systems Medicine program established between researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) and clinical collaborators aims to address this translational gap by combining comprehensive functional chemosensitivity profiling and deep molecular and genetic profiling of cancer patient cells directly with clinical information and translation. Central to the program is the Drug Sensitivity and Resistance Testing where we profile the responses of primary leukemic cells to a comprehensive clinically oriented oncology collection of 525 clinical and investigational compounds. The drug sensitivity information is used to identify signal and network dependencies as well as effective drug combinations, and is further compared to molecular profiling information to establish hypotheses on individual cancer-selective targeting drug combinations and their predictive biomarkers. I will present i) how we use the individualized systems medicine approach to identify effective personalized drug combinations in primary leukemic ex vivo samples and other cancer models and ii) how this information can reveal novel clinical uses for approved and investigational drugs, including our discovery that the approved VEGFR inhibitor axitinib is a potent, selective and clinically relevant inhibitor of drug resistant BCR-ABL-driven leukemia.

Chairperson: Bjørn Tore Gjertsen, CCBIO