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Yaara Oren, PhD

Yaara Oren, PhD

Grant Status

Tel Aviv University

Grant Type
Research Career Development Award

Project Title
Delineating the mechanisms underlying escape from therapy-induced senescence

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Cancer Biology, Cancer Treatment, Drug Resistance

Named Grant:

The Barbara and Fred Kort Foundation Research Career Development Award

About the Investigator:

Dr. Oren is an Assistant Professor at Tel Aviv University investigating non-Darwinian evolution in the context of cancer therapy. She completed her PhD at Tel Aviv University and her postdoctoral training at the Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Oren’s lab applies computational and quantitative experimental approaches to examine the molecular mechanisms that drive ‘cancer persister cells’ (hard-to-kill cancer cells responsible for cancer recurrence). Dr. Oren has earned several prestigious prizes for early career scientists, including the American Association for Cancer Research Women in Cancer Scholar Award, the Rivkin Award, The Azrieli Faculty Fellowship, and the Zuckerman Scholarship.

About the Research:

Despite a favorable initial response to therapy, a third of cancer patients will develop recurrent disease and succumb within five years of diagnosis. While there has been much progress in characterizing the pathways that contribute to up-front resistance, it is mainly unknown why some cancer cells that initially respond to treatment can ultimately escape it and refuel tumor growth.

Anti-cancer therapy’s success stems from either killing a large portion of the tumor cells or inducing a cellular state known as senescence, in which cells stop dividing and proliferating, thereby preventing tumor growth. However, cancer cells can escape this state and resume proliferation, often more aggressively. Dr. Oren and her team want to find out how cells can avoid senescence, even after therapy. This is an essential topic for medical research, but few studies focus on how cells “escape” senescence.

Dr. Oren and her team plan to develop a new tool to track and study cells that escape senescence after treatment. They hope that this new method will help them to answer important questions, such as where these cells come from and whether there are weaknesses that can be targeted to stop them from growing. The findings from this study should help to lay the foundation for the development of novel therapies that delay or even prevent the emergence of recurrent disease


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