Two new research grants were recently awarded to the Ji Research Group at Stanford's Genome Technology Center. This funding continues the Foundation’s approach of strategically putting resources to work supporting innovative studies that can lead to the development of new treatments:
Discovery of Drug Resistance Mechanism in Metastatic Gastric Cancer
$30,000 was granted to determine if a newly discovered drug combination can improve the treatment of patients who have metastatic gastric cancers with the FGFR2 defect.
Some gastric cancers are distinguished by defects in fibroblast growth factor receptor genes known as FGFR2. These patients can be treated with drugs that inhibit these genes; however, over time, these tumors can outsmart the drugs and become resistant to treatment. Researchers on the Ji Lab team searched for the reason why this occurs. Their investigations revealed the identities of the molecules and pathways involved in this specific type of drug resistance in gastric cancer.
Read the publication of their findings here.
Based on these findings, the team discovered a new way to overcome resistance to FGFR-targeted therapy using a drug combination.
Gastric Cancer Foundation has granted funds to initiate the required next step -- a preclinical trial using a mouse model to test the drug combination treatment and determine if this study can be conducted in a clinical trial involving patients with gastric cancer.
Understanding Gastric Cancer at the Single Cell Level
$38,500 was awarded to investigate gastric cancer at the cellular level, with a goal of identifying new drug targets.
Gastric cancers are made up of many different cell types, and they are surrounded by normal stomach and immune cells. Gastric cancers have developed ways of exploiting these normal cells to facilitate cancer growth. Understanding how this tumor microenvironment functions has large implications for knowing how to precisely treat a tumor.
The research team has developed a new approach, called single cell genomics, to determine how gastric cancer cells control the normal tissue and suppress the patient’s own immune system. By using single cell genomic sequencing to analyze the DNA and RNA from individual cells in the gastric tumor microenvironment, researchers plan to elucidate the interactions occurring that allow cancer to proliferate. The team will use this powerful new approach to analyze primary gastric cancers from metastatic patients, in order to identify new drug targets.