Researching the cures


Professor Jason Carroll

Professor Carroll has developed a new technique that allows him to ‘map’ protein interactions within a cancer tumour and identify possible proteins that could be a target for new treatments. He plans to apply this technique to pancreatic cancer tumours and use the resulting map to identify potential drug targets among the proteins. He’s particularly interested in mapping proteins called ‘transcription factors’ which switch genes on.

Project Title: Investigating subtype-specific therapeutic targets in the FOXA1 interactome of PDAC

Project Aims: Professor Carroll has developed a method of using cancer tumour samples to generate ‘maps’ that show how different proteins in the cancer interact. His team use these maps to identify potential drug targets to treat the disease.

In this new project, Professor Carroll will apply this new method to pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer tumours display lots of genetic mutations, but we know very little about how these mutations impact proteins, particularly those called transcription proteins which switch the genes on and off. Professor Carroll hopes to use his technique to build a map of the genes and proteins that drive the progression of pancreatic cancer and so identify possible proteins that could act as a target for new treatments.

In particular, Professor Carroll plans to study the nuclear receptor protein HNF4G. Nuclear receptors are responsible for sensing hormone levels and then working with transcription proteins to regulate the genes accordingly. Drugs that target other nuclear receptors have been developed to treat other cancers or as steroid treatments, but none have yet targeted HNF4G. Professor Carroll hopes his technique will show the role that HNF4G plays in pancreatic cancer and determine if it offers a potential target for a new treatment.