Northwestern University

Mon 4:00 PM

"Targeting Potassium Ion channels in Cancer: From the discovery of novel signal transduction to safe therapeutic opportunities"

When: Monday, October 9, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

Where: Ward Building, Room 5-230, 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Alexa Nash   312.503.4893

Group: Department of Pharmacology Seminars

Category: Lectures & Meetings


The Department of Pharmacology is pleased to welcome Dr. Saverio Gentile, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therepeutics, Loyola University Chicago.

The following, is an overview of this seminar, as described by Dr. Gentile:

Cancer is a group of diseases that produce more than 8.4 million deaths a year worldwide. It has been well established that cancer is characterized by cellular de-differentiation and death evasion leading to uncontrolled cell proliferation and increased migration and that it can potentially arise in any cell of any tissue. Despite the fact that several therapeutic approaches have significantly improved outcome in some type of cancers, antineoplastic treatments have been severely hindered by the difficulty in targeting proteins governing important steps of the carcinogenesis cascade, limited drug availability, side effects, drug resistance in cancer patients and excessive financial burden. Therefore, finding novel therapeutic agents targeting specific molecular pathways involved in cancer biology are urgently needed.
Potassium (K+) ion channels have been traditionally studied in terminally differentiated cells because of their role in generating and shaping action potentials during neuronal transmission and/or muscle contraction. Nevertheless, K+ channels have been found expressed in every cells of a human body and it has been well established that these proteins can play a fundamental role in governing important cellular events such as proliferation and migration in both excitable and non-excitable cells. Nevertheless, very little is known about the role of K+ channels in cancer biology and whether these proteins can be targeted for therapeutic intervention against cancer.
During our investigation to identify new and critical targets in cancer, we found that K+ ion channels can contribute to several of the hallmarks of cancer including proliferation, migration, cancer cell metabolism and oxidative state. In this talk I will describe the molecular mechanism linking specific K+ channels to cellular senescence, autophagy and/or ROS formation in cancer cells. In addition, I will describe the effects of pharmacologically targeting specific K+ ion channels on tumor growth and propose a novel anticancer targeted approach in which “cheap”, safe and non-toxic FDA approved molecules targeting K+ channels can be used to treat ovarian cancers.

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