According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 1.7 million new cases of cancers diagnosed in 2015. More than 50% of these patients will be treated with DNA damaging agents as part of their therapy. Unfortunately, many will not respond favorably to these treatments for several reasons that include ineffective DNA repair and the subsequent misreplication of unrepaired DNA lesions.
The Berdis lab has taken an innovative approach to combat the latter complication by developing a series of non-natural nucleoside analogs that selectively and potently inhibit the ability of specialized DNA polymerases to replicate certain DNA lesions. Dr. Anthony Berdis will discuss a specific nucleoside analog designated 5-Endosine which shows unprecedented specificity for targeting terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) and pol eta, two specialized DNA polymerases involved in replicating DNA lesions in cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
He will discuss how 5-Endosine can be used as a “theranostic agent” – compounds that possess both therapeutic and diagnostic activities. Combining these properties provides a way to accurately measure the therapeutic activity of the drug in real time and ultimately represents a new area in personalized medicine that may lead to more effective treatments and patient responses to chemotherapy.