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Leveraging Synthetic Lethality to Treat Cancer

February 20–23, 2020

Chaired By

 Carla Grandori, MD, PhD of SEngine Precision Medicine
 Christopher Kemp, PhD of Fred Hutchinson

Meeting Description

Two major roadblocks to improve cancer patient outcome are 1) the shortage of effective drugs and 2) the lack of precision in assigning existing drugs to patients. Most cancer drug development efforts focus on targeting a small number of genes that are commonly mutated in cancers such as activated oncogenes. However, these approaches have only benefited a small percentage of cancer patients, due to the inability to effectively target many mutated cancer genes and the overwhelming complexity of cancer genomes. An additional roadblock is that the model systems used most often in cancer research, cell lines and mouse models, do not sufficiently mimic any given patient’s cancer, so results obtained with these models often do not translate to clinical benefit.

  1. What are the challenges and best practices to discover novel cancer drug targets? The genetic mutations that help create cancers also create weaknesses, or “synthetic lethal vulnerabilities” in cancer cells. Targeting these vulnerabilities may be effective against the cancer cells while sparing normal cells thereby reducing toxic side effects that are typical of standard chemotherapies.
  2. What are the challenges and best practices for drug development, drug repurposing, and clinical trial design in the era of personalized medicine? The meeting will discuss the use of cancer cells obtained directly from cancer patients as a model system to nominate candidate drugs for clinical trials.

Because these challenges are interrelated, an integrated approach is called for. This meeting will bring together a diverse panel of experts and thought leaders to share their ideas and discuss strategies to overcome these barriers toward achieving the goals of personalized medicine.

Meeting Summary
Forum summary not available at this time.
Forum Participants

Cheryl Arrowsmith, PhD
Princess Margaret Cancer Center

Jonathan B. Baell, PhD
Monash University

Rene Bernards, PhD
Netherlands Cancer Institute

Andrew Biankin, MD
University of Glasgow

Charles Boone, PhD
University of Toronto

Nyasha Chambwe, PhD
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Adrienne D. Cox, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brooke Emerling, PhD
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
 Forbeck Scholar

Mathew Garnett, PhD
Wellcome Sanger Institute

Carla Grandori, MD, PhD
SEngine Precision Medicine

Christopher Kemp, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Christopher Lord
Institute of Cancer Research, London

Beverly Mock, PhD
National Institutes of Health

Michael Pishvaian
MD Anderson

Andrew Venteicher, MD, PhD
University of Minnesota
 Forbeck Scholar

Paul Workman
The Institute of Cancer Research

Michael Yaffe, MD, PhD

Mark Zimmerman, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
 Forbeck Scholar

This Forum has been generously sponsored by the The 2019 Holiday Matching Program