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AACR 2024: Chinnaiyan presents on possible therapies to target oncogenic transcription factors

Date Visible: 
04/07/2024 - 7:45pm

Media contact: Anna Megdell, 734-764-2220  |  Patients may contact Cancer AnswerLine™ 800-865-1125

Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D. presenting in an auditorium
Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan presenting at AACR

Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., S.P. Hicks Professor of Pathology and Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology at the University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center, was one of several Rogel researchers to present at the American Association for Cancer Research 2024 Annual Meeting. 

Chinnaiyan’s presentation, “Targeting epigenetic regulators of oncogenic transcription factors,” focused on therapeutic targeting of oncogenic transcription factors by indirectly affecting their ability to access enhancer DNA in chromatin. The presentation was featured in a session titled “Epigenetics and Chromatin Regulation in Cancer,” which highlighted presentations focused on chromatin regulatory mechanisms and therapeutic opportunities. 

“Certain cancers, like prostate cancer, are primarily transcription factor driven, which have been challenging to target therapeutically because they're hard to find drugs or small molecules that can bind to transcription factors as they lack  a “druggable” pocket,” Chinnaiyan explained. 

The presentation highlighted research from a 2022 paper in Nature where Chinnaiyan’s team found that it’s possible to inhibit key components of nucleosomal remodeling factors, of the SWI/SNF pathway, by using PROTAC degrader molecules. In disabling the pathway, oncogenic transcription factors can't access chromatin to bind to the enhancer elements in DNA that drive the over expression of oncogenic gene programs. 

The focus of this presentation extends beyond the findings’ initial implications for prostate cancer to other cancers, including small-cell lung cancer and multiple myeloma, that are similarly driven by transcription factors. 

“We’re excited to share how our research which can be applied to more cancers than we initially thought,” Chinnaiyan said. “AACR is a great place to get feedback from colleagues in terms of the designs we present and how of our ongoing studies have impact on other areas of research.”