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Maurizio Scaltriti, PhD
Associate Laboratory Member
Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Drs. Scaltriti and Chandarlapaty are working with their MSKCC colleagues to understand how normal breast cells transition into breast cancer cells and then develop drugs that block the process.
Drs. Chandarlapaty, Scaltriti, Baselga and Norton will develop models of drug resistance to understand how tumors evade anti-cancer drugs. They will then use this information to develop new drugs or drug combinations that can overcome or prevent the development of resistance.
Understanding the basis for drug resistance helps us to figure out the cancer subtypes most likely to benefit from the drug and/or whether a drug combination is needed. Dr. Scaltriti and colleagues are working to solve the mysteries of drug resistance and improve response to targeted therapies.
One of the revolutionary advances of our current time is the ability to examine DNA in great detail. This is called deep sequencing and is a powerful tool for identifying specific gene changes underlying cancer and potential targets for drugs.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) has initiated a massive effort to analyze the DNA from tumors, including metastatic breast cancers, to find new targets, treat patients with drugs directed at the targets, and monitor response to therapy.
The goal of this work is to identify the alterations that specifically convert normal breast cells into breast cancer cells and then develop drugs that specifically target those alterations. This targeted approach has extended the lives of many cancer patients, but resistance to targeted agents remains a clinical challenge. By understanding what drives resistance to therapies, new approaches can be developed to overcome or prevent resistance.
This project utilizes the latest technologies to characterize how resistance occurs in patients who are receiving targeted therapies. Dr. Chandarlapaty, Scaltriti, Baselga and Norton are focusing on tumors that are being treated with recently developed therapies that are either FDA approved or likely to be approved soon.
They will develop models of these "resistant disease" states and then attempt to understand how the tumor evades the drug. They will then use that understanding to develop new drugs or drug combinations that can overcome or prevent development of resistance. Through these approaches, the group hopes to extend the benefit of these recently approved therapies.
Maurizio Scaltriti, PhD, is an Associate Laboratory Member in the Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He received his PhD at the University of Modena in Italy, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Scaltriti’s research focuses on identifying mechanisms that limit the sensitivity to targeted therapy in solid tumors, in particular to PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibitors and anti-HER2 agents. His work aims to provide insights into designing more effective clinical trials that test novel therapeutic combinations in precise subsets of cancer patient populations.