Dr. Sidhu’s ubiquitin research receives significant investment from Genome Canada’s Disruptive Innovation in Genomics program
On December 9th, 2016 in Montreal, Member of Parliament, Marc Miller, announced the 25 projects to be funded by the 2015 Disruptive Innovation in Genomics (DIG) Competition. The major objective of the competition is to support the development of disruptive innovation in the field of genomics, which is defined as a new genomics-based technology or the application of an existing technology from another field, applied to the field of genomics, that is truly transformative in that it has the potential to either displace an existing technology, disrupt an existing market or create a new market. A disruptive innovation offers the capability to do things not previously possible and is not an incremental improvement of an existing technology.
The project led by Dr. Sidhu, “Synthetic inhibitors of ubiquitin-binding cancer targets” – a collaboration with Drs. El Bachir Affar (Université de Montréal) and Roman Melnyk (SickKids Hospital) – was awarded Phase 2 funding with a total funding envelope of $3,009,018. A summary of the project is shown below.
Cells remove damaged or nonfunctional proteins through a small protein called ubiquitin, which attaches to target proteins and signals their destruction. In many diseases, ubiquitin does not work as it should. Dr. Sachdev Sidhu and his team at the University of Toronto are using an innovative high-throughput molecular genetics engineering platform, which is unique in the world and has attracted intense interest from industry and academia, to enable the rapid and cost-effective development of highly specific and potent ubiquitin-like molecules. These molecules attach to key, cancer-associated enzymes of the ubiquitin system, to block or enhance their function. The project will enable the discovery of new drug targets, speed up drug development and generate effective anti-cancer drugs with fewer side effects, all of which should be of great socio-economic benefit to Canadians.
The main aim of Phase 2 is to fund projects at the prototype stage, in order to develop and help commercialize promising ideas. CCAB is looking forward to working with Dr. Sidhu toward these goals.