The Molecular Structor of Arm 1

Dr. Derek Hoeltz and the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health laboratory have identified a new gene (Arm1) with important cancer-related functions. While chemotherapy is effective in destroying cancer cells, the side-effects of the drugs result from the killing of non-cancer tissues. When Dr. Hoelz’s research team reduced expression of the Arm1 gene, cancer cells became more responsive to chemotherapy. Remarkably, in cells with a functional p53 gene, which is found mutated in >50% of all cancers, they observed the opposite effects – it protected the cells from chemotherapy. Inhibition of Arm1 appears to be an attractive approach to treating cancer patients, increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapeutics by enhancing their ability to kill off cancer cells while protecting healthy surrounding tissues from their detrimental effects, reducing side-effects. This research grant will help Dr. Hoelz’s team take the initial steps in the development of Arm1 inhibitors to be used as chemotherapeutics. In order to accomplish these goals, they have teamed with the laboratory of Dr. Jeff Perry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, to investigate Arm1’s molecular structure in high detail. The results of these studies will allow them to identify and test Arm1 inhibitors that may ultimately be used to more effectively treat cancer.

Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health
Derek Hoelz
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1 Year Pilot Grant

Maine Cancer Foundation Grants to this Organization:

Year Program Amount Category Organization
2011 The Molecular Structor of Arm 1 $73,087 Research Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health
2009 Role of MicroRNA-10b in Neurofibromatosis Type 1 Tumorigenesis and Progression $72,059 Research Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health