While Jayaraman and her team at MoCR focus on tumor intrinsic targets (i.e. factors inside tumor cells that contribute to therapy resistance), they partner with colleagues in other TRCs across the U.S. to examine the biology of cancer cells from a holistic perspective. The team from the Tumor Microenvironment (TME) TRC in Redwood City focuses on tumor extrinsic targets, or targets around the tumor cell, such as interactions with immune cells and other cells within the TME. Meanwhile, the Immuno-Oncology and Cell Therapy (IOCT) TRC in Seattle considers how cell therapies can leverage a patient’s own immune system cells to attack the cancer cells. And finally, the Oncogenesis TRC team in San Diego are leaders in protein degradation. They work with small molecules that use the body’s natural recycling system to degrade proteins that drive tumor cell growth, rather than try to inhibit them.
“The teamwork across all four TRCs is crucial in attacking cancer cells from every angle possible,” says Jayaraman. “We constantly ask ourselves: Can we do this any better or from a more creative standpoint? How can we keep building from here based on what we already know?”
The teams also work with colleagues in chemistry, toxicology, pharmacology, and translational medicine, among others, to engage in a holistic understanding of cancer cells, an approach that positions BMS to continue to be a leader in the oncology space.
“In oncology, you cannot divvy up the work into separate categories—it’s all interwoven,” Jayaraman says. “At BMS, we always put our patients at the forefront of what we do. So, we need to collaborate across disciplines and follow the science where it takes us, so that we can continue providing the best care possible for our patients.”