Distinguished Speaker Series: Cell state dynamics and plasticity in tumorigenesis and drug resistance

Prof. Itai Yanai, Institute for Systems Genetics & Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, NYU School of Medicine.

13 November 2022, 13:15 
Britannia 06, Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU 
Distinguished Speaker Series

The Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, TAU

Jointly with

Edmond J. Safra Center for Bioinformatics

Cordially invite you to a SPECIAL SEMINAR

Prof. Itai Yanai

Institute for Systems Genetics & Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, NYU School of Medicine


" Cell state dynamics and plasticity in tumorigenesis and drug resistance"


Sunday, November 13 2022, at 13:15

Britannia building, Faculty of Life Sciences, room 06,  TAU

Refreshments from 13:00


Abstract: Cellular plasticity is emerging as an important driving force underlying cancer progression and drug resistance. In this talk, I will discuss the concept of cancer cell states present in the tumor prior to treatment, as well as those that accompany resistance to increasing drug doses. In particular, I will discuss work published in our recent manuscript 'Cancer cell states recur across tumor types and form specific interactions with the tumor microenvironment' and recent developments in this project. Second, I will discuss our new work of 'Drug-induced adaptation along a resistance continuum in cancer cells'. In this work we provide evidence that the dose and treatment duration together drive the resistance of ovarian cancer cells to targeted therapy along a trajectory of cellular adaptation, that we denote the ‘resistance continuum’. We report that gradual dose exposure and prolonged treatment promote a continuous increase in fitness, and show that this process is mediated by evolving transcriptional, epigenetic and genetic changes that promote multiple cell state transitions. The resistance continuum is underpinned by the assembly of gene expression programs and epigenetically reinforced stress response regulation. Using both in vivo and in vitro models, we found that this process involves widespread reprogramming of cell survival pathways, including interferon response, lineage reprogramming, metabolic rewiring and oxidative stress regulation. Together, the resistance continuum reveals the dynamic nature of cellular adaptation, and carries implications for cancer therapies, as initial exposure to lower doses primes cells over time for increased resistance to higher doses.


Host: Dr. Tzachi Hagai, Life Sciences Faculty




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