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This week we profile a recent publication in Oncogene from the laboratory of Dr. Christopher Kemp (pictured) at Fred Hutch.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

We are using patient-derived tumor cells to identify and validate new drug targets as well as to identify potentially effective therapies for drug-resistant cancers, in other words, functional precision oncology.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

There are few effective therapies specific to RAS or TP53 mutant cancers. Here we identify a broad set of targetable dependencies in squamous cell carcinomas which carry mutations in RAS, TP53, or both. Importantly, we find that targetable dependencies (e.g. synthetic lethality) in RAS mutant tumors are context-dependent and modified by co-mutations, especially in TP53.

What are the next steps for this research?

We need to further validate the novel targets in human cancer models and develop inhibitors.

If you’d like us to mention your funding sources, please list them.

National Cancer Institute and the Harwell Fund.

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