Breast and ovarian cancer constitute serious health challenges in the EU. To identify new improved cancer therapeutic approaches, we will pursue a multi-facetted synthetic lethal approach, which takes advantage of the inherent genetic instability of cancer cells. Most mutations acquired by cancer cells do not cause lethality, but the very same mutations may cause cell death when a second gene in a redundant pathway is inactivated. Thus, targeting a gene that is synthetic lethal together with a cancer-specific mutation will kill only cancer cells while sparing normal cells.

Synthetic lethal approaches have been clinically pioneered by members of our consortium, by combining cancer-promoting mutations (e.g. in BRCA2) with inactivating combinations of DNA repair genes. We will use this approach as the scientific frame for our Innovative Training Network (ITN) SYNTRAIN, consisting of 9 academic and 1 biotech company beneficiary as well as 3 partners.

Vision & mission

We aim to identify synthetic lethal interactions and exploit them to innovate future breast and ovarian cancer treatments through compound screening and development.

SYNTRAIN consists of world leading researchers with complementary knowledge in genome maintenance and stress response pathways, and a critical mass of expertise for providing an excellent training in screening methodologies, mechanistic investigations, and drug discovery.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 722729.

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