Kenichi Suda, MD, earned the IASLC Lung Cancer Young Investigator Award for 2015-2016 and will use it to conduct research as part of the Division of Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the Kinki University Faculty of Medicine.
About 15 to 40 percent of lung cancers contain epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations and cancers with this mutation depend on the aberrant signaling from them for their proliferation and survival. Several studies show that EGFR inhibitors can be more effective than conventional chemotherapy, but nearly all patients become resistant to these drugs in a few years. A specific mutation, T790M, is responsible for resistance in most patients and many people are developing ways to overcome it. However, it is still unknown if what causes resistance in one patient’s lesion is present in all lesions. Additionally, it is important to investigate all potential resistance mechanisms to new drugs and find ways to defeat them.
Dr. Suda’s research will compare mutations to determine if the same mechanism is what causes resistance to the inhibitors and analyze what causes the resistance to newly-developed inhibitors. The knowledge gained from this work will aid in the optimization of lung cancer treatment strategies.
“I feel passionately about this field, as I am also a thoracic surgeon and am in a position to see both the clinical need for improved treatment strategies, and the benefit of more effective treatment regimes once they are implemented,” Dr. Suda said.