The cohesin gene STAG2 has emerged as a new tumour suppressor frequently mutated in bladder cancer, Ewing sarcoma and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Currently, these cancers are treated by cytotoxic therapies and surgery. These treatment plans are limited by unwanted side effects, have not been able to eliminate the high mortality caused by AML, and have not improved over the last few decades. STAG2 mutations are therefore a biomarker for cancer patients with high medical need. We discovered that STAG2 mutated cancer cells are highly vulnerable to the inactivation of another protein, called STAG1, while healthy cells remain unaffected. This highly selective sensitivity of cancer cells towards such a treatment is exceptional and could be exploited for precision medicine. Our long-term aim is therefore to develop STAG1 inhibitors. This precision medicine would greatly decrease side effects and costs, from which patients, doctors, and health insurance companies would benefit. To enable the development of such a STAG1 inhibitor, exploring the innovation potential is essential. For this, several “stepping stones” need to be reached which we would like to achieve with support of this ERC-PoC grant: (1) optimising our building blocks for a STAG1 inhibitor (2) developing an intellectual property strategy, (3) assessing commercial feasibility and (4) developing a business plan. Altogether, this will result in a proposition package that can be used to present the commercial potential to strategic partners. For this purpose, we have assembled a team that shares the same enthusiasm to achieve our common goal: to develop precision medicine for patients suffering from STAG2 mutated cancer.
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme