FCF funds grant to University of Wisconsin

FCF is pleased to announce that it has awarded a grant to Sean Ronnekleiv-Kelly, MD of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine to determine if targeting CDK7 could be a useful treatment approach for FLC.

A group of proteins called cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) help regulate cell division and other fundamental cellular processes. Previously, Dr. Ronnekleiv-Kelly observed that a particular CDK called CDK7 is present at significantly higher levels in FLC cells than in normal liver cells. CDK7 has already been associated with rapid progression and poor prognosis in several cancers and has become a potential anticancer drug target.

The principal goal of the proposed study is to determine whether the inhibition of CDK7 using an investigational new drug could be an effective therapeutic strategy for FLC. SY-5609 is an early-stage drug (from Syros Pharmaceuticals) that blocks the action of the kinase CDK7. This study will build on Dr. Ronnekleiv-Kelly’s prior work by testing SY-5609 alone and in combination with other drugs in FLC cell model systems, PDX models, and slice cultures prepared from human FLC tumors.

If the results of this study are promising, they could set the stage for a clinical trial of CDK7 inhibition, alone or in combination with other drugs, in FLC patients.