Research Streams

synthetic big

An approach called synthetic lethality targets biological systems in which two or more genetic pathways interact to contribute to a vital cellular process. The loss of either pathway does not threaten cell viability and may indeed provide a survival advantage, such as the case with cancer cells; however, lethality is observed when both pathways are inhibited, which may be achieved using specific inhibitory compounds. ACRI scientists are working to identify the pathways in cancer cells that can elicit synthetic lethality and develop compounds that can take advantage of these discoveries. These experiments should lead to compounds that target only cancer cells (which already have loss-of-function in one pathway) and have no effect on normal cells, thus avoiding the side effects associated with current therapies. 

Using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, ACRI researchers are working to identify pathways in cancer cells that can cause synthetic lethality to enable the development of compounds that can benefit from these discoveries. These experiments should lead to compounds that only target cancer cells (which already have loss of function in a pathway) and which have no effect on normal cells, thus avoiding the side effects associated with current treatments. These same tools are currently used at ACRI for the development of a diagnostic system whose goal is to identify among the drugs currently available, the best candidate for the treatment of patients who would not respond, or have difficulty in conventional treatments.


  • Pierre Deprez, Ph. D.
  • Nadia Bouhamdani, Ph. D.
  • Dominique Comeau, Ms. C
  • Dr Sandra Turcotte

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Atlantic Cancer Research Institute 
Pavillon Hôtel-Dieu
35, Providence Street
Moncton, NB E1C 8X3 Canada

info@canceratl.ca
Tel.: 506-862-7512
Fax.: 506-862-7571

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The Atlantic Cancer Research Institute

 (ACRI) is a non-profit organization founded in late 1998 and housed at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton. Thanks to its unique expertise, ACRI has become a true centre of excellence in cancer research.


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