Despite significant progress in diagnosis and treatment, cancer remains Canada’s leading cause of death. Although scientists have made major efforts in identifying mutations in some cancers, it is still not known how these mutations cause cancer. Cancer is often related to the disruption of regulatory mechanisms in the cell, including auto-inhibition, a process that allows proteins to switch their functions on and off. Mutations can alter these protein switches, which can lead to changes in cell behaviour and ultimately cancer. However, there is no easy way to determine when cancer-causing mutations affect auto-inhibitory switches.
Dr. Joerg Gsponer is developing a new method to identify auto-inhibitory switches through the use of genomic and proteomic information.