Cancer and Stress

Cancer cells upregulate survival pathways to withstand stress induced by rampant proliferation and the toxic tumor microenvironment.  They are subjected to a myriad of stresses including DNA damage, proteotoxic, anoxic, metabolic and oxidative stress.  Many cancer cells must therefore upregulate stress responses relative to healthy cells to ensure survival and on-going proliferation.  Targeting these stress pathways may be an effective way to kill cancers.  Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) proteins play important roles in regulating these stress responses that enable cancer cell survival.  Targeting PARPs is a promising new area of cancer drug development with the potential to have a profound impact on the way we treat cancer.

At Ribon Therapeutics, we are discovering new medicines that target specific members of the PARP family called monoPARPs to block cancer cells’ fundamental survival mechanisms.  MonoPARPs are distinct from polyPARPs including PARP1, the most well-known member of this family.  With the large number of monoPARPs functioning across distinct stress responses, the emerging field of monoPARPs offers a large and robust opportunity for new drug discovery and a new approach for treating cancer.



PARP phylogenic tree. PARPs play important roles in regulating stress responses that enable cancer cell survival. Ribon is focused on a subset of proteins called monoPARPs, shown in orange.

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