CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Syros Pharmaceuticals, the industry pioneer in gene control, announced today the publication of a new study co-authored by Jean Zhao, PhD of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Syros scientific co-founders Nathanael Gray, PhD, and Richard Young, PhD, that demonstrates the central role played by cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK 7) in the growth of a highly aggressive form of breast cancer, and the strong potential of selective inhibition of CDK7 as a novel treatment strategy. The findings were published in the Sept 24 issue of Cell.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), as with many other difficult-to-treat cancers, is characterized by a high degree of genetic complexity that has made it out of reach for targeted therapies. In the absence of a clear genetic target, researchers examined whether the disease’s known dependence on the transcription of certain genes might open a new avenue for drug development.

The Cell paper concluded that TNBC is dependent on the activity of CDK7, a gene regulator that has emerged as a unique dependency in some cancers. After confirming the selective role of CDK7 in TNBC, the authors conducted a series of experiments that demonstrated the strong potential of CDK7 inhibition to reduce tumor cell proliferation and induce cancer cell death in animal models.

“These findings are an important validation of the central role of CDK7 in the survival and proliferation of cancer cells in triple negative breast cancer and other difficult-to-treat forms of cancer,” said Eric Olson, Chief Scientific Officer of Syros Pharmaceuticals. “We are making strong progress in advancing our CDK7 inhibitor into the clinic. This paper supports the broad potential of this program in addressing a range of cancer types fueled by a strong dependence on gene transcription.”

Syros Pharmaceuticals has exclusively licensed CDK7 inhibitor intellectual property from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The company is in late preclinical development of a CDK7 inhibitor for cancers with transcriptional dependency.

About Syros Pharmaceuticals

Syros Pharmaceuticals is a therapeutics company harnessing breakthroughs in gene control to revolutionize the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Syros’ proprietary platform identifies the master switches for disease genes, opening a whole new approach to novel therapeutics and biomarkers. The Company’s founders are pioneers in gene control research and translation. Co-founded by Flagship Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners, Syros Pharmaceuticals is located in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, visit

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Source: Syros Pharmaceuticals