FCF is pleased to announce that Dr. Taran Gujral of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington has been awarded a two-year grant. Dr. Gujral studies both tumor cells and their microenvironment. His lab has been developing new patient-derived xenograft (PDX) and cell culture models from human FLC tumors to facilitate the search for effective targeted drugs against this cancer.
In this new study, named “Development and Characterization of Patient-derived Models of Fibrolamellar Carcinoma“, Dr Gujral plans to investigate a “druggable” protein kinase, named polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1), as a potential candidate for FLC therapy. Biochemical studies have suggested that the fusion protein that is the driver of FLC associates with PLK1 in some cellular structures. Because of its importance in the regulation of cell multiplication, PLK1 has been considered a good candidate for targeted cancer therapy in several diseases.
The grant funding will support the evaluation of PLK1 inhibitors that are already under development for other cancers in human models of FLC. The compounds also will be tested directly for the ability to selectively kill cancer cells in “slice cultures” of actual FLC tumors.
If successful, the hope is that this study could lay the groundwork for a clinical trial of one of these treatments in FLC patients.