Yeast colonies growing on a screening plate

ASPIRE Award for Jackson projects

16.12.20 High-risk project in Jackson lab wins ASPIRE funding from the Mark Foundation

Steve Jackson is among the awardees of the 2021 ASPIRE (Accelerating Scientific Platforms and Innovative Research) programme, funded by The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. The awards are designed to enable innovative approaches to solving high-impact problems in cancer research that tend to fall outside the scope of other funding opportunities.

With a total of $9M split between 25 awardees from around the world, the Mark Foundation aims to support innovation in cancer research. Steve Jackson will use the funding to perform CRISPR screens for new cancer targets and therapeutic opportunities.

Steve Jackson colour portrait

It is wonderful to receive a Mark Foundation ASPIRE Award, which will allow us to explore some new and exciting high-risk, potentially high-reward, research by screening for synthetic lethal targets in two specific genetic backgrounds found in cancerous tissue

Steve Jackson

Steve’s team will work on two projects. First is a screen for synthetic lethal targets of CDKN2A, a tumor suppressor that is frequently mutated in patients predisposed to familial melanoma, pancreatic cancer, and head and neck cancer. In parallel, the team will examine ways of overcoming tumour resistance to ATR inhibitors.

If either approach yields promising results then Steve may be selected to apply for additional funding in a second phase to further develop the work and increase the speed to impact for cancer patients.