The DTRF is pleased to announce that our first grant recipient of 2019 is the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for their proposal entitled “Using genome-scale CRISPR screening to create a Desmoid Tumor Dependency Map.”
This project is directly tied to one of DTRF’s five 2019 research priorities we announced at the end of last year: “Use existing data, in addition to CRISPR data, to identify new therapies for desmoid tumors.”
While some aspects of individual desmoid tumors are shared between patients, each tumor has unique molecular and clinical characteristics. This means that selecting the right therapies for future patients with desmoid tumors requires a special type of map. This map, which would be called a “dependency map,” would enable a clinician in the future to know therapy(ies) to prescribe based on the genetic characterization of that individual patient’s tumor.
The project aims to produce freely available foundational resources and develop a pilot version of a desmoid tumor dependency map that the entire scientific community can use. They will first test a large number (>6,000) of existing drugs that might be repurposed for desmoid tumors. It’s likely that the most promising drugs for desmoid tumors likely don’t yet exist. It is for this reason that the project will focus on using new genetic tools, including a special type of molecular “scissors” called CRISPR/Cas9, to disable every gene in the genome in a systematic fashion and look for evidence of desmoid tumor cell killing in the laboratory.
These experiments will prioritize the best targets to ensure drug companies know which targets to work on for desmoid tumors and ensure they include desmoid tumors in future drug discovery programs that might otherwise be focused on other tumor types.
Your fundraising and donations have made this exciting grant possible! THANK YOU for helping us accelerate our journey to a cure for desmoid tumors.