Nabeel Bardeesy, PhD
Gallagher Endowed Chair in Gastrointestinal Cancer Research,
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Since 2011, TargetCancer has provided $282,000 in total support of Nabeel Bardeesy's cholangiocarcinoma research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. In January 2014 TargetCancer provided a $100,000 grant to Dr. Bardeesy, marking the fourth year of an ongoing commitment to create a comprehensive research program for the disease.
Cholangiocarcinoma, like many rare cancers, has been largely ignored by the research community despite its rising incidence worldwide. This disease has historically lacked the basic research necessary to begin understanding the underlying biology and genetics of the cancer.
With TargetCancer’s support, Dr. Bardeesy has built a comprehensive research program that simultaneously focuses on several key areas and approaches:
• Cell line collection
• Generation of mouse models
• Genomic studies
• Establishment of xenografts
• Screening of cell lines against existing compounds
These systems provide a comprehensive tool kit for studies of this complex disease. Recent efforts have focused on the study of key genetic drivers of cholangiocarcinoma- drivers that have only been discovered in the past few years. Based on these drivers, targeted cholangiocarcinoma clinical trials will begin in 2014.
TargetCancer is making a multi-year commitment to Dr. Bardeesy’s lab because we understand the necessity of both consistency in supporting research, as well as the importance of approaching the disease from so many perspectives over time.
Collaboration is essential to the success of any research program, and TargetCancer chooses its grant recipients carefully to ensure that they will be willing to share information, samples, and expertise with others in the field. After several years in the cholangiocarcinoma and general rare cancer research community, TargetCancer has developed an extensive network and uses these contacts to build working relationships between researchers, institutions, and industry. These collaborations come at no cost to TargetCancer but often have a very significant impact.
The TargetCancer Think Tank on Cholangiocarcinoma was a half day workshop held in Boston in November 2012 that was designed to facilitate information sharing and collaboration on the topic of cholangiocarcinoma research and treatment. This workshop brought together an outstanding and diverse roster of participants who are currently researching and treating cholangiocarcinoma, as well as those who have worked to bring other cancers out of "orphan" status.
The conversations at this meeting have led to experiments and projects that would not have happened otherwise, several of which are being funded through TargetCancer’s funding to the Bardeesy Lab.
In 2012 TargetCancer funded the creation of The TargetCancer Cholangiocarcinoma Cell Line Bank at Massachusetts General Hospital, and has funded its ongoing operations since then. This innovative program unites laboratory researchers, surgeons, pathologists, and medical oncologists to generate new cholangiocarcinoma cell lines and patient-derived xenografts.