Cancer can be considered a disease of gene control; since dysregulated patterns of gene expression are a feature of all tumours. Excitingly, targeting the underlying epigenetic mechanisms that promote oncogenic gene expression in cancer cells is providing significant opportunities for cancer drug development. Indeed, initial successes in this area may soon be leveraged for the benefit of cancer patients. Expanding European research capabilities in this area is essential, since approximately 1.5 million people die from cancer each year in Europe; and projections indicate that this number will increase in the coming decades. The work described in this application is at the cutting-edge of cancer drug target discovery, and drug development. My work identified the SWI/SNF complex component BRD9 as a novel drug target in several malignancies; and drug development efforts have led to first-in-class BRD9 degrader compounds. Testing the in vivo efficacy of these novel compounds as anti-cancer agents (WP1) will be essential if we are to translate these compounds to clinical investigations. Moreover, the work described in WP2/3 will be essential to fully exploit the potential of BRD9 as a drug target and identify additional opportunities for future drug development. My expertise in the areas of epigenetics and drug development make me the ideal candidate to pursue the outlined research program. Moreover, the support of this Action will give me the opportunity to develop further as an independent researcher; both in terms of technical expertise and transferable skills. These additional skills will allow me to achieve my long-term career goal of establishing my own independent research program, focusing on cancer epigenetics/drug development within a European context. Dissemination of the research findings associated with this Action will increase Europe's profile in cancer epigenetics research, and hopefully lead to increased public engagement in this important area of study.
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