Our research can be characterized by two primary interests:
- Identify the genetic lesions underlying cancer pathogenesis for each cancer patient.
- Identify specific, gene-targeted therapies that can be individually tailored to cancer patients on the basis of their causative oncogenic lesions.
Towards this end, we have developed two functional screening strategies making use of siRNA and small-molecule kinase inhibitor libraries to interrogate the genes and signaling pathways required for growth and viability of malignant cells. We have applied these techniques directly to primary cells from cancer patients to identify new oncogenes. It has also become clear that functional screening can only reveal part of the answer when used as a stand-alone technique. As such, we are integrating analysis of these same patient samples with a series of genomic techniques for the identification of point mutations, translocations, mis-splicing or gene over-expression events. Simultaneous application of both functional and genomic screens will accelerate our understanding of the genes and pathways that contribute to neoplasia, such that cancer therapy can be individually tailored for each patient.