Yoichiro Mitsuishi, MD, PhD, earned the IASLC Lung Cancer Fellowship Award for 2015-2016 and will study under the mentorship of Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The most common form of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but there are a number of different forms of the condition and certain treatments are more effective in one type and other treatments are more effective in others. In many cases, doctors and scientists find very specific molecular abnormalities and these can identify the different types of NSCLC. It is possible to identify the different types by analyzing the DNA from a tumor and looking for specific mutations.
New treatments developed to specifically address these abnormalities, called targeted-therapy, can be very successful. However, few treatment options exist for many patients whose cancers do not contain these specific abnormalities. To address this urgent need, Dr. Mitsuishi hopes to identify small-molecule drugs that will lower or block the levels of a specific protein, NRF2, found in 25 to 30 percent of NSCLC. Targeting NRF2 is different from current targeted-therapies and may lead to new treatments for patients with cancer that contains these mutations.
“I have a special interest in the basic understanding of how various targeted-therapies could be employed in specific molecular subsets of lung cancers, to improve clinical outcomes.” Dr. Mitsuishi said. “By applying my knowledge of the basic biology of lung cancer to the creation of novel therapeutic strategies, I am eager to create a new standard of therapy for lung cancer patients.”