American Association for Cancer Research

Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for Research in Personalized Cancer Medicine

The Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for Research in Personalized Cancer Medicine represents a joint effort between the Landon Foundation and the AACR to accelerate progress in the area of personalized medicine by providing support for a physician-scientist who conducts meritorious studies that hold promise for near-patient benefit.


Nikhil Wagle, M.D.Nikhil Wagle, M.D.
Instructor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Systematic Genomic Profiling of Endocrine-resistant Breast Cancer 

"In spite of tremendous advances in the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer using hormonal therapy, patients frequently develop resistance to these therapies. These resistant tumors remain the most common cause of breast cancer death, yet mechanisms by which this resistance develops are poorly understood. Much more work is required to fully understand all of the clinically relevant resistance mechanisms in breast cancer patients treated with hormonal therapy. Moreover, there is an urgent need to develop new therapies for patients who no longer respond to hormonal therapy. The goal of this project is to improve our understanding of resistant ER+ breast cancer by using cutting-edge genomic technology to directly characterize tumor samples from patients who have developed resistant breast cancer. We will use next-generation sequencing technology to comprehensively characterize the genomes from breast tumor samples obtained from patients who have developed resistance to hormonal therapy. We will also use newly-developed computer programs to identify clinically “actionable” genomic alterations in tumors from patients with endocrine-resistant breast cancer that may direct these women toward new clinical trial options. Once completed, this work should help us understand how ER+ breast cancers develop resistance to hormonal therapies, thereby aiding the development of new treatment strategies and novel therapeutics for breast cancer patients. Ultimately, our approach may impact clinical practice for many types of cancer by offering a categorical means to identify genetic changes affecting genes and pathways targeted by existing and emerging drugs, thereby speeding the advent of personalized cancer medicine."

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