Precision Medicine Series: Opportunities and Challenges of Exploiting Synthetic Lethality in Cancer

January 4-7, 2017
Hard Rock Hotel
San Diego, California

Conference Cochairs
René Bernards, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
William C. Hahn, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
Louis M. Staudt, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland


Development of targeted cancer drugs has focused primarily on the products of oncogenes that are mutated in cancer. However, this has resulted in a focus on a relatively small number of targets by the pharmaceutical industry. The realization that some genes, which may not necessarily be mutated, can show synthetic lethality with pathways that are activated in cancer provides a potential array of novel drug targets. Moreover, synthetic lethality provides an additional opportunity to develop powerful drug combinations that can be exploited to deliver more lasting responses in the clinic and to combat drug resistance.
The focus of this AACR Special Conference is to bring together basic, translational, and clinical scientists working on exploiting these co-dependencies in cancer. The concept of synthetic lethality is derived from classical genetics and has been widely explored in model organisms. Recent advances in technology now permit similar types of studies to be performed in mammalian cells. The recent approval of the use of PARP inhibitors for the treatment of ovarian cancer patients that harbor BRCA1 mutations provides proof-of-principle evidence that targeting such co-dependencies represents a viable therapeutic strategy. This conference will include presentations representing the full spectrum of research, from model organisms to clinical studies, to cover all aspects of this rapidly developing field.

Continuing Medical Education Activity AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM available