Award Recipient, MICRTP Travel Award, 2015

Presenting my work exploring a new cell-signaling pathway that can potentially improve the use of antifolates in cancer therapy

June 2015

The MICRTP Travel Award offers great opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows. As a part of this program, I will be able to present my work exploring a new cell-signaling pathway that can potentially improve the use of antifolates in cancer therapy at an important meeting in France in September 2015.

The results that I will present show that the PGC-1a/ERRa axis, a powerful cell signaling pathway, can control the activity of genes involved in One-Carbon Metabolism, a pathway which is used by cancer cells to grow faster. Importantly, we show that targeting this new regulatory axis can sensitize cancer cells to antifolate therapies, which are commonly used chemotherapies for a wide variety of cancers, including breast cancer. Therefore, quantifying the activity of the PGC-1a/ERRa Axis could be used as a biomarker of anti-folate therapeutic efficiency, while targeting it with pharmacological agents could increase cancer cell sensitivity to antifolates and make treatment more effective. Taken together, our results represent a big step towards more personalized medicine for antifolate therapy in breast cancer, and most likely also for several other cancers.

Presenting these results in the context of an international scientific meeting is important for my scientific career. It will allow me to discuss my work with some of the world best researchers in my field of interest, and to develop novel concepts and ideas in order to push our results forward. In addition, it is a great opportunity for me to network and to develop professional collaborations.

Étienne Audet-Walsh, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow
Dr. Vincent Giguère Laboratory