Andreas Strasser, PhD, MSc, FAA
Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Andreas Strasser leads the Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division at WEHI. His research is focused on the role of cell death (apoptosis) in the development and treatment of cancer. Strasser was the first to show that abnormalities in the control of apoptosis can cause cancer and can render tumor cells resistant to anti-cancer drugs.
Strasser was the first to show that a class of proteins, called BH3-only proteins, were essential for the initiation of apoptosis. These proteins are often lost or switched off in malignant cells, promoting tumorigenesis.
These discoveries have major implications and laid the foundation for the development of BH3-mimetic drugs for cancer therapy. Notably, the BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax, co-developed by WEHI (including Strasser’s team) with Genentech+AbbVie, was approved by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia, and an MCL-1 inhibitor, developed in collaboration with Servier, is showing promise in pre-clinical studies.