Epigenetic Regulators of Anticancer Drug Response

The effectiveness of cancer drugs depends on several factors which are governed by the genetic and ‘epigenetic’ code of cancer cells. The epigenetic code comprises those heritable modifications that bookmark DNA and DNA-associated proteins to guide the expression of genetic attributes without changing the DNA sequence. This epigenetic code is written, read, and erased by a group of proteins known as epigenetic regulators. Our preliminary data suggest that one epigenetic regulator plays a role in controlling the effectiveness of a targeted cancer drug; however, the role of different epigenetic regulators in drug response is not fully understood. The Structural Genomics Consortium has developed a toolkit of chemical compounds that can be exploited to study these regulators in cell biology and drug discovery. In this project, we propose to leverage this toolkit to systematically study the roles of epigenetic regulators in cancer drug therapy. Specifically, we plan to identify these roles by a large-scale combination of cancer drugs with the toolkit compounds in relevant cancer cell lines and subsequent interrogation of significant changes in cancer drug responses. This approach will provide new insights into the functions of epigenetic regulators and help identify improved therapeutic options with immediate utility in cancer therapy.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dalia Barsyte-Lovejoy


Samir H Barghout


Structural Genomics Consortium


Pharmacy / Pharmacology


Professional, scientific and technical services


University of Toronto



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