Overcoming Cancer Drug Resistance
A talk by Charles L. Sawyers, MD
As a physician scientist and leader in the development of targeted therapies for cancer, Dr. Charles Sawyers investigates the signaling pathways that drive the growth and drug resistance of cancer cells. He and his colleagues played a critical role in developing the molecularly targeted cancer drug, Gleevec (imatinib), for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. Sawyers’ research into treatments for cancer that becomes resistant to established therapies led to the development of Sprycel for patients with Gleevec-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia and Xtandi for metastatic prostate cancer that has become resistant to Taxotere.
Sawyers has continued to expand his pursuit of novel anticancer drugs by collaborating with structural biologists to ascertain how potential drugs may fit within a potential therapeutic target. This research technique has since been expanded alongside recent efforts to sequence and map resistance-enhancing genetic mutations to understand how drugs must be manipulated to allow for efficacy even in patients harboring specific genetic abnormalities.
Through his dedication to improving precision medicine and patient care, Sawyers continues to positively influence the cancer research field. He has also been a strong advocate for biomedical research and has served on National Academy of Science and Institute of Medicine panels that have made recommendations to national leaders on topics such as biomarker use as well as clinical trial design and implementation.