Dr. Onur Çizmecioğlu of Molecular Biology Department has been awarded Newton Fund Advanced Fellowship of the Royal Society for his project on “Phosphoproteomic elucidation of unique molecular targets of ubiquitious Class IA PI3K isoforms and their tumour mutants”.
This joint project proposal aims to identify ‘the accomplices’ (i.e. protein targets) of the PI3Ks in cancer and inactivate them instead. Hence, the project envisions to minimize the toxic side effects associated with direct PI3K inhibition by uncovering and targeting their ‘accessories to the crime’ specific for cancer cells (namely, proteins that receive signals from mutant PI3K but not wild-type enzymes). This will allow designing drugs that preferentially kill cancer cells while sparing normal cells thus minimizing side effects and increasing the drugs’ therapeutic window. This joint project together with Prof Pedro Cutillas at Queen Mary University of London, UK aims to bring together two research units specializing in molecular genetics and functional proteomics to thoroughly dissect unique and common functions as well as regulations of cancer related PI3K subtypes (p110α and p110β).