Prof Ross Cagan - Biology of Therapeutics


Cagan Ross The Cagan laboratory uses Drosophila to explore the biology of therapeutics. Data from several laboratories including our own have highlighted the role of genomic complexity in cancer drug resistance. To explore this, we have developed genomically complex fly models of cancer (colorectal, thyroid, breast, lung) and rare genetic diseases (primarily RASopathies). These act as a starting point for our work in mammalian models, both directly and with our collaborators.

Each personalised fly 'avatar' line models a different patient, each with typically 5-15 altered genes. While targeted therapies are effective in '2-hit' models, 12-hit models—even with many of the same cancer drivers—are often resistant to these same therapies.

We are leveraging our fly platform containing dozens of avatar lines to explore changes in transformation that come with genomic complexity. This has led to an ongoing 'fly-to-bedside' clinical trial in which 'personalised fly avatars' are used to identify therapeutic cocktails unique to each patient.

Further, we are working with chemists to address disease complexity through drug cocktails and through building a new generation of 'network-based' novel lead compounds that address tumour and rare disease complexity through multi-targeted 'polypharmacology'.

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