Van Andel Institute PI Secures Grant to Pursue EXH2 Inhibitors Targeting Cancer

Dr. Scott Rothbart, an epigenetics expert at Van Andel Institute recently received a research grant from the American Cancer Society totaling $792,000 to further develop a novel anti-cancer drug class known as EZH2 inhibitors. Discovered by Dr. Rothbart and colleagues in 2018, EZH2 interacts with more proteins than initially understood due to advanced methods for investigating the suite of enzymes associated with the early-stage investigational product.

The Enzyme

EZH2, a target of focus among cancer researchers due to how it “interacts with proteins that support DNA,” the enzyme can turn genes that impact processes “on” or “off,” thus supporting cell growth regulation. Van Andel Institute’s news release shared recently that dysregulation associated with EZH2 leads to cell proliferation, which can lead to cancer. This enzyme may provide cancerous tumors the cover they need to avoid elimination by the immune system.

Interactions between molecules such as EZH2 and proteins are a major target for therapeutic development, as proteins are responsible for carrying out all biological processes, impacting the disease in profound ways.

Principal investigator POV

Dr. Rothbart...

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