The transcription factor Myc plays a central role in the development of human tumours but is also an essential protein. Proof-of-principle studies using a dominant negative allele of Myc in mice have demonstrated the dependency of established tumours on Myc function. One goal of our research is to develop strategies to target Myc function for cancer therapy. We have already discovered that promoters differ in their affinity for Myc and that these differences enable Myc to regulate functionally distinct genes at different nuclear concentrations (Lorenzin et al, eLife, 2016). The new notion that Myc regulates distinct sets of genes at physiological and oncogenic levels opens the compelling possibility to specifically target the oncogenic functions of Myc.
We are exploring this concept in vivo and will identify and target crucial Myc target genes.