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Sunil Joshi's Dissertation Work Published in Top Cancer Journal

Posted on Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunil Joshi, an Oregon ARCS Scholar Alum, shared the exciting news that part of his dissertation work from Dr. Brian Druker and Dr. Elie Traer's lab was published in Cancer Cell, which is among the top cancer journals in the world. Dr. Trevor Bivona, an expert in cancer drug resistance, commented on Sunil's work, “Altogether, this elegant and comprehensive work by Joshi et al. provides important new insight in how AML cells initially survive target therapy and then adapt to become therapy resistant…Identifying these features of early resistance exposes vulnerabilities in tumors that can be exploited to prematurely intercept their path to regrowth during or following therapy. This strategy appears to be more attractive than combination therapies targeting mutations featured in late resistance, as alternate mutations might develop either as a consequence to or independent of the therapy. This concept should be clinically tested and holds promise for improving outcomes in AML patients. Overall, the work by Joshi et al. should prompt similar studies in other tumor types to augment the understanding of tumor evolution and drug resistance.” 

Sunil states, “When thinking of drug resistance in cancer, we usually associate it with the acquisition of genetic mutations in tumor cells. Results of our work bring to light other biological processes that contribute to explaining why certain cancer cells survive therapy while others do not. We show that protective factors secreted by the AML bone marrow microenvironment are essential in fostering the development of early drug resistance, which precedes the acquisition of genetic mutations found at later stages of resistance. Understanding the biology of early resistance may offer new opportunities to prevent or delay late resistance and improve clinical outcomes.”

The official paper link is HERE. The graphical abstract is posted below.

Sunil recently received his PhD and is now back in medical school at OHSU where he will finish clinical rotations. ARCS Oregon Chapter is very proud of Sunil's accomplishments!