Gabriel Birrane, Ph.D.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Investigating the role of the ROBO1 protein in the development of blood cancers

The Roundabout receptor 1 (ROBO1) is a recently discovered molecule. ROBO1 has been shown to be involved in the genesis of certain cancers and the development of the blood vessels that feed tumors. Alterations in the gene encoding ROBO1 occurs in children diagnosed with leukemia. Blocking the action of ROBO1 has been shown to inhibit tumor growth. Changes in the activity of this gene may contribute to other blood cancers as well. Targeting ROBO1 for drug development represents a new route for treatment. To achieve this aim, Dr. Birrane’s lab needs to better understand how ROBO1 works, specifically identifying the other proteins in the cell it engages. In this project, Dr. Birrane will identify these proteins which, together with ROBO1, have important roles in the development of blood-related cancers and which provide attractive targets for novel therapies that block malignant growth.