Announcements

Seminar in Medicine, 23.09.2019 , Vinay Tergaonkar, IMCB, Singapore

Author: KUSOM
Time: 16:00
Location: ENG Z27

KOÇ UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

SEMINAR IN MEDICINE

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

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Speaker           : Vinay Tergaonkar, IMCB, Singapore

Title                : Cancer specific telomerase inhibitors

MITOCHONDRIAL DYSFUNCTION UNDERLIES THE PROINFLAMMATORY
PHENOTYPE OF MULTIPOTENT MESENCHYMAL STROMAL CELLS FROM
ATHEROSCLEROTIC INDIVIDUALS

Time               : 16:00 

Place              : RF / ENG Z27

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While telomerase is recognized as a key target in cancer, telomerase inhibitors despite being good drugs are unsuccessful due to their side effects on stem cells. Unlike in stem cells, levels of telomerase catalytic subunit TERT are limiting in reconstituting telomerase activity in normal somatic cells. However, in 90-95 % of human cancers, TERT is transcriptionally reactivated and telomerase activity is reconstituted which is necessary for cancer progression. If TERT transcriptional reactivation could be specifically blocked in cancer cells, telomerase reconstitution in cancers can be prevented. How TERT promoter is reactivated in cancers has been a fundamental unanswered question in cancer biology. The recent discovery of 2 prevalent somatic mutations - C250T and C228T in the TERT promoter in various cancers including 85% of melanomas and glioblastomas has provided insight into the plausible mechanism of telomerase reactivation in cancers. We have identified mechanisms by which mutant TERT promoters are reactivated. I will describe these mechanisms of TERT promoter firing and propose how we can selectively target TERT reactivation and hence telomerase activity in mutant cancer cells. 

 

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Vinay Tergaonkar obtained his Ph.D. (2001) through an international cancer society (UICC) fellowship for collaborative research at Tufts University, Boston, USA. He has been a fellow (2001-2004) and a special fellow (2004-present) of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and conducted his postdoctoral studies at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California. He joined the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), Singapore, in late 2005 as Principal Investigator and became a Senior Principal Investigator in 2010 and Research Director in 2015. He is also a Professor at School of Medicine at National University of Singapore. He serves on Editorial Boards of 1) Science Advances (AAAS), 2) Molecular and Cellular Biology (American Society for Molecular Biology), 3) Biochemical Journal (Portland Press) 
4) Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology (Elsevier Press), 5) BMC Research Notes (Biomed Central) and 6) Telomeres and Telomerase. Work from his lab has received international recognition including the British council development award (2014), the Premiers’ fellowship from Government of South Australia (2015) and University of Macau Distinguished Professorship (2019).