Dr. Aykut Uren (Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA)
"Targeting protein-protein interactions as experimental and therapeutic tools"
Dr. Üren investigates molecular mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis in pediatric sarcomas. His team discovered several first in class small molecule inhibitors for key target proteins, one of which is in Phase 1 clinical trial. His approach has been to identify compounds that can directly bind to the target protein by surface plasmon resonance and then perform a secondary screen to select compounds that inhibit the function of the target protein. Disease focuses have been on Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma that contain the target protein EWS-FLI1, ezrin, CD and PAX3-FOXO1.