City of Hope Professor Jianjun Chen joins Race’s Scientific Advisory Board

  • Professor Jianjun Chen of the City of Hope Hospital appointed to Race’s Scientific Advisory Board
  • Prof Chen is one of the foremost leaders in the m6A RNA methylation field and discovered Bisantrene’s FTO-inhibiting activity
  • His expertise will be instrumental in advancing Race clinical and preclinical plans

16 April 2021 – Race Oncology Limited (“Race”) is pleased to advise that it has appointed Professor Jianjun Chen of the City of Hope Hospital, Los Angeles, to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

I would like to thank Race Oncology for their kind invitation. I am so glad to serve on the Race Oncology SAB. I also look forward to collaborating with the Race Oncology to translate our discoveries from the bench into clinical applications to cure cancers, especially those that are resistant to currently available therapeutics.

Professor Jianjun Chen

Prof Chen and his team recently identified Bisantrene as a potent inhibitor of the Fat Mass and Obesity associated protein (FTO) published in the journal Cancer Cell in July 20201. Overexpression of FTO has been shown to have central role in the proliferation and spread of a wide range of cancers via its regulation of the m6A RNA methylation pathway2.

I am very much looking forward to working with Professor Chen to advance Race’s preclinical and clinical programs. The discovery of Bisantrene’s ability to inhibit FTO by Prof Chen’s team is potentially one of the most important breakthroughs in cancer research in the last decade. I am humbled that we can bring someone of Prof Chen’s stature to aid Race’s clinical and preclinical programs.

Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Daniel Tillett

Prof Jianjun Chen is the Simms/Mann Family Foundation Chair in Systems Biology at the Beckman Research Institute City of Hope Hospital. His laboratory of 22 scientists focuses on both basic and translational research associated with RNA/DNA epigenetics, especially RNA methylation/demethylation related to the N6 methyladenosine (m6A) machinery and has identified several small-molecule compound inhibitors, including Bisantrene, with therapeutic potential in this area.

Our focus on FTO through Pillar 1 of our Bisantrene development strategy is significantly enhanced by Professor Chen’s involvement. It opens the door to broader collaboration and program development. We look forward to progressing the relationship and the further opportunities it may afford.

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Mr Phil Lynch

About Professor Jianjun Chen

Jianjun Chen, Ph.D. is professor and Department Chair of Systems Biology at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope. He was previously an Associate Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and an Assistant Professor of medicine University of Chicago.

Prof Chen received his Ph.D. degree from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, and conducted postdoc training with Janet D. Rowley, M.D., at University of Chicago.

Prof Chen is a scholar of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (2017) and Researcher of the Year, The Pamela B. Katten Memorial Leukemia Research Foundation Award (2014). He is a permanent member of the National Institutes of Health Developmental Therapeutics (DT) study section and his research program is currently supported by five R01 grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). He has published over 130 papers including in Cancer Cell, Cell and Nature.

  1. Su, R., Dong, L., Li, Y., Gao, M., Han, L., Wunderlich, M., et al. (2020) Targeting FTO Suppresses Cancer Stem Cell Maintenance and Immune Evasion. Cancer Cell, 38(1), 79–96.e11
  2. Barbieri, I., & Kouzarides, T. (2020). Role of RNA modifications in cancer. Nature Reviews Cancer, 20(6), 303–322.