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Caring for Carcinoid Foundation

Understanding the Tumor Suppressor Activities of ATRX-Daxx Through Epigenomic Profiling and Animal Models

The chromosomes in our cells are composed of equal amounts of DNA and protein. The cellular machine of ATRX-Daxx helps to build and maintain chromosome structure at specific sites in our genome, including telomeres, the special structures that cap and protect the ends of our our chromosomes.

Previous CFCF-funded researchers discovered mutations in the genes ATRX and Daxx among tumors from patients with non-functioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Despite these exciting and promising findings, the precise role of ATRX and Daxx in neuroendocrine tumor development is yet to be understood and treatments exploiting these findings have yet to be developed.

Dr. Allis has assembled an impressive team of  collaborators from both Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to answer these important questions. This team brings together expertise in epigenomics, neuroendocrine tumor biology and pathology.

Dr. Allis' team wil conduct experiments and create models to understand the role of ATRX and Daxx in neuroendocrine tumor development with the ultimate goal of developing new therapies for patients by targeting these processes. Furthermore they will establish the precise changes in chromosome structure resulting from mutations in ATRX and Daxx. Knowledge of these changes could shed light on not only neuroendocrine cancers but many other cancer types as well.

Institution: 

The Rockefeller University

Investigator: 

C. David Allis, Ph.D.

Amount: 
$450,000
Duration: 
2 years
Research Objectives: 
  • Transcriptome and epigenomic analyses of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor subtypes
  • Faithfully recapitulate pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor initiation and progression through conditional deletion of ATRX and Daxx tumor suppressors
Abstract: 

In this research project Dr. Allis and his team will conduct a set of experiments to understand 1) why pancreatic neuroendocrine cells that lack ATRX-Daxx are more likely to become tumor cells and 2) how ATRX-Daxx act as tumor suppressors in pancreatic neuroendocrine cells.

Specifically they will focus on understanding how chromosome structure and the turning on and off of genes change when pancreatic neuroendocrine cells lack ATRX-Daxx. Results from these studies will identify new molecular targets for novel treatments for neuroendocrine tumor patients.

This project will: identify new molecular targets for neuroendocrine tumor treatment, diagnosis and prognosis; generate mouse models to test new, targeted therapies for patients; and determine how mutations in ATRX and Daxx affect chromosome structure in neuroendocrine tumors.

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