Michael F. Press, MD, PhD

$500,000 Jessica M. Berman Memorial Fund Senior Investigator Grant

Research Title: Polo-like Kinase 4 as a Regulator of Cytokinesis and as a Target for Cancer Therapy

University of Southern California

Polo-like kinase 4 (PLK4) regulates duplication of each cell’s centrosome, which facilitates movement of duplicated chromosomes to opposite poles in dividing cells. Without two centrosomes cells cannot divide; hence preventing cancer cell duplication. We have also found that PLK4 controls a final step in cell division, known as cytokinesis. We are part of a research collaboration that has developed a new drug, CFI-400945, which inhibits PLK4 activity. Our proposal seeks support to identify biomarkers that predict which cancers cannot complete cell division when PLK4 function is inhibited and which cancers, like normal cells, can complete cell division.

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