Targeting aggressive cancers that use the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) mechanism


Associate Professor Karen Lee MacKenzie

University of Sydney (NSW)


2024 - 2027

The Research

The survival of patients with rare cancers is disproportionately low (58.5%) compared to patients with more common cancers (76.5%). This reflects a lack of progress in the development of new treatments due to lower research funding, a paucity of research model systems and difficulties acquiring sufficient cancer samples for statistically powered studies. Precision medicine has the potential to improve outcomes of patients with rare cancers by delivering personalised treatment targeting specific molecular abnormalities detected in the individual’s cancer. However, an estimated 50% of patients referred to precision medicine programs do not receive personalised treatment because molecular testing fails to identify abnormalities that match the currently available molecular-targeted therapeutics. New molecular-targeted therapies are therefore urgently needed to bridge this gap. 

This project will provide a critical path forward in the development of new therapeutic approaches that target a fundamental property of almost all cancer types: the ability of cancer cells to replicate without limit (cancer cell immortality).


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