Damon Runyon Researchers

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Natalie Vokes, MD

The treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has changed dramatically with the development of immune-activating checkpoint inhibitors, given alone or with chemotherapy. However, most patients' tumors eventually develop resistance to these drugs. Dr. Vokes [The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Physician-Scientist] is investigating this process by collecting data on the genetic and immune features of pre- and post-treatment tumors. She will then use computational algorithms to integrate these features into a model that predicts which patients are likely to respond to checkpoint inhibitor therapy and also sheds light on the difference between therapy given alone or with chemotherapy. A better understanding of how tumors evolve resistance will guide the design of more effective therapies for all patients and improve therapy selection for individuals.

Project title: "Dissecting tumor intrinsic and immune drivers of resistance to therapy in non-small cell lung cancer"
Institution: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Named Award: The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Physician-Scientist
Award Program: Physician-Scientist
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): John V. Heymach, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: Lung
Research Area: Computational Biology