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Lauryn Brooks

Lauryn Brooks

Lauryn Brooks, a senior biochemistry major at Hampton University, utilized R to identify drugs that can be repurposed for cancer treatments.

Development of new and effective cancer treatments is a large investment for pharmaceutical companies that can cost billions of dollars and take almost a decade to develop a single drug. BSRP 2021 has been my most gratifying research experience. In a matter of nine weeks I fully immersed myself in a field I had never thought of working in before. The Broad provided a welcoming and engaging environment that gave me the opportunity to grow and learn while also coming into myself. I’ve gained many hands-on skills in coding, but the most invaluable parts of this experience were the relationships and connections I made. The Broad has provided me with the confidence, skills, and support system I believe that I need to be successful in my future research career.This process can be made more efficient by repurposing pre-approved drugs for an off-label purpose. In this study, I aimed to repurpose drugs for cancer treatment by investigating the relationship between gene expression and drug performance in different cancer cell lines . I utilized datasets from PRISM and the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE) to analyze the performance data of over 5,000 drugs that were tested in 578 different cancer cell lines. In order to nominate the most effective and specific drugs, I assessed the drugs based on their bimodality, and selected the top 50 for correlational analysis. I, then, found the Pearson correlation between the top 50 drugs and every gene present in the CCLE expression dataset. My analysis demonstrates that the drug SAR405838, which is currently in Phase I clinical trials and EDA2R, a prominent tumor suppressor gene, have the strongest negative correlational relationship. This suggests that SAR405838 may be used to treat cancers with high expressions of EDA2R in the future.


Project: Repurposing Drugs to Effectively Treat Cancer Based on Gene Expression

Mentors: Smriti Pandey, Liu Lab
Lena Joesch-Cohen, PRISM