Basic/Laboratory: One of my top priorities is to identify and characterize lung cancer radiosensitizers. Standard treatment for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (LA-NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) involves concurrent radiotherapy (RT) and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, survival despite treatment is limited, in part due to an inability to administer enough radiation to eradicate the tumor without damaging surrounding vital organs. To discover novel therapeutics with the potential to act as radiosensitizers, we have been performing whole genome RNA interference and CRISPR/Cas9 screens in NSCLC lines. Once we identify promising gene targets, we test potential inhibitors in vitro and in vivo and characterize their mechanisms of action, e.g., impact on radiation-induced DNA damage repair, to elucidate biomarkers that may predict treatment responses.
Clinical/Translational: I am an Executive Officer for Alliance Foundation Trials, a North American research organization that develops and conducts cancer clinical trials with the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, working closely with pharmaceutical partners. Ongoing studies include a Phase I/II trial of the PARP inhibitor veliparib in combination with chemoradiotherapy for Stage III NSCLC, and a Phase II trial of the PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab as induction immunotherapy prior to chemoradiotherapy for Stage III NSCLC. I am also the Principal Investigator for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Radiation Oncology All-Department Biorepository to Accelerate New Discoveries (BROADBAND) protocol for systematic collection of health information, treatment data, blood samples and other biospecimens for translational studies.