Grants - V Scholar Grants - California - 2018

Collin Blakely, M.D., Ph.D.

Lung cancers are often driven by genetic changes. The focus of my research is on a type of lung cancer that is driven by changes in the EGFR gene. This type of lung cancer often occurs in younger patients who are non-smokers. New medications can target these changes. This has allowed patients to live longer. However, patients are almost never cured of their disease. My goal is to understand why responses to these EGFR targeted treatments are almost never curative. Then I will work to identify new medications that can be used together with EGFR inhibitors. This may allow patients to live longer. I will accomplish this goal by identifying all of the genetic changes present in patients’ tumors. This will allow us to understand which ones may be allowing cancer cells to survive. I will also assess tumors for other changes that occur within cancer cells. In addition, I will look at the immune cells that are in the tumor. To summarize, the goal of this research is to identify new combination therapy strategies that can improve the depth and duration of response to EGFR targeted therapies, allowing patients with this deadly disease to live longer.