Mutations in the KRAS gene are found in 20 to 25 percent of lung cancers. These cancers do not respond well to standard lung cancer treatments and are notoriously difficult to treat. Researchers have been developing new drugs that specifically target biological pathways disrupted by mutant KRAS. In addition, some drugs belonging to a newer class of drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors, has been approved for a number of cancers including lung cancer. The goal of the Dream Team has been to develop and bring together these two highly promising therapeutic approaches of targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
The Team is currently conducting a myriad of clinical trials, including trials where they combine targeted therapies, called MEK inhibitors, with checkpoint inhibitors that are specific for the PD-1 receptor.
To maximize the benefit of immunotherapy, the Team is also analyzing samples from patients that have been treated with this class of drugs. The Team seeks to identify ways to predict which patients are more likely respond to immunotherapy.
Progress to Date
The SU2C-American Cancer Society Lung Cancer Dream Team is taking a three-pronged approach to the challenge of creating new treatments for KRAS-mutant lung cancer:
1). The most effective therapies for targeting the mutant KRAS protein and related biological pathways are being identified.
2). Approaches to exploit the immune system for the treatment of KRAS-mutant lung cancers are being developed.
3). Targeted therapies with immunotherapies will be integrated as a novel combination treatment approach.
The Team of collaborators is an unrivaled group of experts from both fields of targeted therapies and immunotherapy. Bringing the remarkable advances in these two fields together is expected to lead quickly to new therapies for patients with KRAS mutant lung cancers.