New targeted therapies to treat cancer have undoubtedly helped many patients to live longer. However, these treatments are still just palliative, and do not offer a cure. Because of a cancer feature known as “cell plasticity,” which enables cancer cells to survive or change their identities, patients can progress to highly aggressive and deadly forms of cancer that do not resemble the original ones.
Dr. Amina Zoubeidi, Canada Research Chair in Cancer Therapy Resistance, is trying to tackle this problem. Using state-of-the art tools and approaches to profile patients’ tumours and blood, Zoubeidi and her research team are developing liquid biomarkers to identify and monitor plasticity and design novel drugs to address it. Ultimately, they hope their research will lead to treatments that can save lives.