For over 60 years, preserving genomic integrity has been considered the cornerstone of cancer prevention, with many mutated genes being identified as being drivers of tumour progression. However, as many mutated genes ultimately encode for dysfunctional proteins, it has become clear that the preservation of protein integrity and the control of protein production are also essential in preventing malignant disease.
Many pathways exist to maintain appropriate rates of protein synthesis and to preserve proteome integrity. Control at the point of translation and post-translational modifications is central to the increased anabolism of tumours, and errors in these processes can cause critical cellular stress responses. Equally, cellular protein turnover by ubiquitin-mediated mechanisms and autophagy are also critical for the tumour cell viability and dependence on these pathways in mitigating oxidative damage and metabolic stress has uncovered a number of cancer vulnerabilities.
Ultimately, it is the aim of this conference to detail and integrate the different ways in which protein dynamics both protect against cancer and contribute to cancer maintenance. As these pathways can also have perturbations and greater dependencies in cancer, it is also a key theme of our conference to better understand how these pathways can be targeted for cancer therapy.