Jeffrey Epstein, New York Financier, Advances Pivotal Findings in the Evolution of Cancer
The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, a science philanthropy foundation based in New York City, has helped finance the first mathematical model of how human cancer cells evolve, and more specifically, how they evolve to become immune to inhibitor drug therapy, a popular alternative to chemotherapy. Cellular resistance to inhibitor drug therapy is still a major challenge to finding a cure for cancer and the new mathematical model has led to a critical understanding of how to combat it.
The mathematical model was developed by Martin Nowak, Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University and a team of post-doctoral students, Benjamin Allen and Ivana Bozic. Martin Nowak, a well-known evolutionist, is also the Professor of Mathematics and Biology at Harvard. Their research was conducted from the request of the Pathology and Oncology Department at John Hopkins University. The Department was trying to understand how the KRAS gene in colon cancer cells becomes activated after inhibitor drug therapy, making the cells resistant to treatment.
By developing a mathematical model of colon cancer cell growth during the treatment of an inhibitor drug, (which typically target a protein receptor), Nowak and his team, showed how the KRAS gene is not actually activated or ‘switched on’ from inhibitor drugs but rather a small percentage of colon cancer cells with an already activated KRAS gene are immune from the start and evolve to predominance as the other cancer cells are destroyed by the inhibitor drug.
The discovery was critical in changing the approach to inhibitor drug therapy. Instead of applying a single inhibitor drug, which can lead to a resilient minority to dominate, the Pathology and Oncology Department at John Hopkins are now exploring the necessity of providing a cocktail of drugs to block all colon cancer cell types: those with the activated KRAS gene and those without. The same approach is underway for other cancer types.
Much research still needs to be done: cocktail tolerance needs to be assessed, and cocktails will have to be specific to both cancer types and their minority cells that are known to be resistant.
The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation is known for establishing the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University in 2003 with a $30 million dollar grant. In addition to funding cutting edge science research across the country, the foundation also supports education in many other fields. The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation was founded in 2000 by Jeffrey Epstein, a New York financier and philanthropist. Jeffrey Epstein also sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard.
The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation