Dr. David Dankort
Departments of Medicine and Oncology, McGill University
FRSQ Research Scholar
Associate Member, Goodman Cancer Research Centre
Cancer represents a failure of built-in protection mechanisms to quell rogue cells that have sustained oncogenic mutations. Paradoxically, many of the same mutated oncogenes that cause cancer also elicit a permanent growth arrest (senescence) or induce apoptotic cell death of primary cells: two such oncogenes are RAS and BRAF. One research goal of my laboratory is to determine mechanistically how a tumour cell subverts these growth restraints leading to unbridled proliferation and ultimately malignancy. We will use the power of mammalian genetics in ‘state-of-the-art’ genetically engineered mouse model and cell culture systems to define causative roles for RAS and BRAF-cooperating genes involved in lung cancer and melanoma development and progression.