Frank B. Gertler

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MetaStat Licenses KI-discovered Cancer Biomarkers

Work from the KI's Gertler and Burge laboratories has led to exclusive new worldwide patent and technology license agreements between life sciences company MetaStat and MIT, its Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and its Department of Biology, among others. The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) process contributes to tumor metastasis and therapeutic resistance for breast and other cancers. MetaStat has licensed a collection of genes that are alternatively spliced during EMT, leading to the production of distinct protein isoforms (or "variants"). Detection of these alternatively spliced mRNAs or their protein products offers a unique opportunity for improved diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of metastasis in epithelial solid tumors. Gertler’s work on the alternative splicing signature for EMT was funded through the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program by the KI Director's Anonymous Discretionary Fund. more...

Engineering-Biology Collaboration Explains Tumor Drug Resistance

Cancer drugs known as ErbB inhibitors have shown great success in treating many patients with lung, breast, colon and other types of cancer. Yet, some patients do not respond to this treatment and even among those who initially do, tumors commonly become resistant. A new collaborative study, funded initially by the KI Frontier Research Program and led by KI members Doug Lauffenburger and co-author Frank Gertler, reveals that drug resistance to ErbB inhibitors develops because of a protein called AXL. This protein helps cancer cells to circumvent the effects of ErbB inhibitors. The findings, published in Science Signaling, suggest that combining drugs that target AXL and ErbB receptors could offer a better way to fight tumors. more...

Stopping the Spread of Cancer

 The Gertler lab works to understand and fight the deadly process of metastasis. watch...

The Actin Cytoskeleton During Invasion and Metastasis

Frank Gertler, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research watch...

New biomarker may lead to a test that can predict aggressive cancer

Researchers have developed a test that could help doctors precisely identify which breast cancer patients should receive aggressive therapy, thereby sparing many women at low risk for metastatic disease from undergoing unnecessary and potentially dangerous treatment. The researchers, including KI scientist Frank Gertler, developed the test based on an earlier finding that the co-mingling of three cell types can predict whether localized breast cancer will metastasize, or spread throughout the body. more...