Translational Oncology/KRAS Targeted Therapy
My interest as a medical oncologist and cancer biologist is to identify novel targets for cancer therapy. Specifically, I have focused on lung cancer clinically with a particular interest in targeting KRAS mutations, which have remained refractory to current therapies.
We previously found that TBK1, a kinase that is normally involved in immune cell signaling, prevents apoptosis in cancer cells driven by oncogenic KRAS. Others have found that inhibition of the NF-kB and STAT pathways, in which TBK1 is involved, also results in impaired tumor growth in KRAS-driven mouse lung cancer. Recently, we discovered that a kinase inhibitor, momelotinib, inhibits TBK1 and JAK signaling and has activity in mouse models of Kras-driven lung cancer. Based on these findings, we have opened a trial together with Gilead Sciences combining momelotinib with the MEK inhibitor trametinib in treatment refractory KRAS mutant lung cancer.
My overall goal is to continue this effort clinically and in the lab to refine combination therapy for KRAS-driven lung cancer and improve outcomes for this challenging disease.