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Do dying cells promote the emergence of drug tolerant persisters?

By Dr. Glen Reid

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the National Research Grant Round 2023

Dr. Glen Reid

Read about Dr. Glen Reid, one of our grant recipients.

Dr. Glen Reid

Rising from the ashes: Do dying cells promote the emergence of drug tolerant persisters? 

Lung cancer treatment has been revolutionised by targeted therapeutics which act by blocking the pathways that drive cancer. However, despite dramatic initial results, their effects are invariably short-lived and relapse is inevitable. Recent studies have identified a rare population of drug-tolerant cells as being largely responsible for relapse. These cells evade therapy and eventually lead to tumours that no longer respond to treatment. In this research we are seeking to understand how these rare drug-tolerant cells emerge during treatment. We predict that cells dying in response to therapy send out signals that promote the emergence of these drug-tolerant cells. We will create a novel way of labelling cells that are communicating with their neighbours to test our prediction. By understanding how these rare cancer cells evade therapy, we can potentially block this process using readily available and cheap anti-inflammatory drugs to ultimately improve outcomes for cancer patients.