Targeting the RSK axis to eliminate medulloblastoma

Brain cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in children. Current treatment options are chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, which either prolongs the child’s life for only two years or leaves them with negative side effects such as slowed development. Thus, there is a pressing need for new therapeutics.

One of the focuses of our lab is to repurpose targeted therapies. The intern narrowed down a list of drugs in clinical trials. One of the top leads, BI-D1870, inhibits p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK). We have demonstrated in breast cancer that BI-D1870 significantly kills all cancer cells including the cells responsible for relapse. It is thought that there is a set of cells in the bulk of the tumour that is left over after treatment to reform a new tumour. We will apply this concept of RSK inhibition to medulloblastoma.

In the research project, the intern will begin by determining the functional role of RSK in medulloblastoma. Following this, we plan to target RSK with specific inhibitors. These drugs are currently in clinical trials and active at clinically achievable levels. The ultimate goal is to translate this research into clinic to manage and eliminate this disease. 

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr.Sandra E. Dunn


Mary Rose Pambid


Hannah's Heroes Foundation




Life sciences


University of British Columbia



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