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Drs. Janz and Tanas Receive Cancer Center Pilot Grants for Studies Using the High Throughput Screening Facility

March 8, 2017

Siegfried Ganz and Munir Tanas

Dr. Siggy Janz and Dr. Munir Tanas, and their respective research teams, received 1-year pilot awards from the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for studies utilizing the High Throughput Screening (HTS) Facility. The HTS Facility is in the College of Pharmacy and is directed by Dr. Meng Wu. Each pilot grant is for $10,000.

Dr. Janz and collaborators Drs. Xuefang Jing, Carol Holman and Rama Sompallae will employ the HTS technology to identify small-compound FOXM1 inhibitors that may lend themselves to new treatments of high-risk myeloma and other types of cancer dependent on the transcription factor from the large forkhead box (FOX) family of proteins. Included is the testing of novel FOXM1-targeted thiopeptides, kindly provided by Dr. Albert Bowers, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina.

Dr. Tanas and collaborator Dr. Chris Stipp (Department of Biology) will utilize the HTS Facility to identify small molecule inhibitors of TAZ and YAP, transcriptional coactivators and oncoproteins regulated by the Hippo pathway. Munir and Chris have shown these oncoproteins are frequently activated in sarcomas and prostatic carcinoma, and recently coauthored a paper together. Although TAZ and YAP are activated in a wide variety of cancers, no effective small molecule inhibitors have been identified. Identifying a novel compound inhibiting TAZ and YAP could lead to new treatments for sarcoma, prostate cancer, as well as other carcinomas.