Dale Tooley Cancer Research Lecture

May 14

3:30pm - 5:30pm

Join the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for this special event in the Dale Tooley Cancer Research Lecture Series.

Featuring guest speaker:

Dr. Andrew Thorburn
Professor and Chairman, Department of Pharmacology
University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus

presenting a talk on Targeting Autophagy in Cancer

Reception in Olin Rotunda at 3:30 followed by the talk at 4:00 in Olin 205.

Abstract
Autophagy is the cellular recycling program by which damaged and/or excess cellular material, proteins and organelles are delivered to the lysosome for degradation. Although autophagy was identified over 50 years ago, in the last 10-15 years, there has been an explosion of interest in this area, and its importance in normal biology and disease has become widely appreciated. The majority of current clinical effort to capitalize on therapeutic autophagy manipulation is in cancer with over 50 ongoing clinical trials where we are attempting to deliberately manipulate autophagy in order to improve cancer therapy. However major questions remain.

In this presentation, recent published and unpublished work from addressing the following important questions will be discussed:

  • Does deliberate inhibition of autophagy improve cancer therapy in patients?
  • Why does targeting of autophagy make other drugs work better?
  • Can cancer cells find ways to acquire resistance to autophagy inhibitors and, if so, can we capitalize on these mechanisms to improve treatment?

The major conclusion of the work presented at this lecture is that by understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which a core biological process affects tumor cell behavior it is possible to develop rational approaches to maximize the benefit of therapeutic interventions.

Speaker Biography
Andrew Thorburn trained at the Universities of Glasgow, Oxford and University of California San Diego and has held faculty positions at the University of Utah and Wake Forest University. He is currently at the University of Colorado where he is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Thorburn is an author of more than 150 scientific publications and has held multiple research grants from NIH and other agencies. The Thorburn lab studies autophagy’s roles in cell death and cancer therapy with a focus on understanding when and in which patients autophagy manipulation will be therapeutically useful by causing chemosensitization to other anti-cancer drugs. The focus of his research is to do this through developing an understanding of the mechanisms by which autophagy regulates programmed cell death particularly apoptosis and necroptosis.