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Tactical Approaches to Repress oncogenic Gene Expression in prostatic Tumors (TARGET)

Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD

Principal Investigators: Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD (University of Michigan), Sarki Abdulkadir, MD, PhD (Northwestern University)

Co-Investigators: Shaomeng Wang, PhD (University of Michigan), Ganesh Palapattu, MD (University of Michigan), Joshi Alumkal, MD (University of Michigan), Zachery Reichert, MD (University of Michigan), Ulka Vaishampayan, MD (University of Michigan), Maha Hussain, MD (Northwestern University), Gary Schiltz, PhD (Northwestern University), Yuzhuo Wang, PhD (University of British Columbia), Ke Ding, PhD (Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Xiaoju (George) Wang, PhD (University of Michigan), Jean Tien, PhD (University of Michigan), Yuanyuan Qiao, PhD (University of Michigan), Jeanne Stuckey, PhD (University of Michigan), Alex Tsodikov, PhD (University of Michigan), Jeremy Taylor, PhD (University of Michigan)

Young Investigators: Abhijit Parolia, PhD (University of Michigan), Lanbo Xiao, PhD (University of Michigan), Sarah Fenton, MD, PhD (Northwestern University)


  • The MYC protein is one of the most important oncogenes in human cancer, driving the development and progression of ~70% of all cancers, and is a critical driver of prostate cancer development and progression.
  • MYC would be an ideal target for cancer therapeutics; however, because of its unconventional and disorganized structure, it has proven difficult to target using standard drug development approaches. There are no approved direct MYC inhibitors.
  • Arul Chinnaiyan and team will use multiple novel drug development and chemistry approaches to develop cancer therapies that effectively target MYC.
  • Approaches that will be tested include small molecule inhibitors and PROTAC (proteolysis targeting chimera)-based degraders to target MYC.
  • The potential and efficacy of these therapies will be evaluated in preclinical prostate cancer models that span all clinical prostate cancer disease stages, and made ready for advancement into phase 1 clinical trials.
  • If successful, this team will develop a novel effective MYC-directed therapy for prostate cancer.  MYC is a major driver of many cancer types; thus, these studies have the potential to benefit huge numbers of patients with cancer.

What this means to patientsThis team will employ a suite of cutting-edge drug development techniques to develop an effective inhibitor of MYC, a major driver of ~70% of all cancers, including prostate cancer. These agents will be rapidly translated into clinical trial testing and have the potential to benefit a broad population of patients, including all clinical stages of prostate cancer and many types of cancer beyond prostate cancer.

View all the PCF TACTICAL Award-Class of 2022 recipients.