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Maurizio Scaltriti, PhD
Associate Laboratory Member
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
- Seeking to understand how normal breast cells transition into breast cancer cells.
- Laboratory studies are ongoing to develop strategies to prevent tumor resistance to targeted therapies.
- These studies will inform new strategies to overcome or prevent the development of resistance.
Despite recent advances, treatments are still limited for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Drs. Chandarlapaty and Scaltriti are working to understand why drugs targeted against the major “drivers” of metastatic breast cancers fail after initially working. They have uncovered several “escape” routes that metastatic cancers can utilize and are developing tools to better model these in the lab to generate treatment approaches that block these escape routes.
Full Research Summary
The development of targeted therapies that target specific drivers of tumor growth have shown great success and led to many lives saved. Unfortunately, resistance to targeted agents is common and is the main limitation for durable efficacy of the treatments in patients.
Understanding the basis for drug resistance will help scientists identify patients who will or will not respond to specific therapies. Moreover, the presence of specific alterations may reveal that tumors that are exquisitely sensitive to certain treatments and not to others, sparing some patients toxic and/or ineffective therapies.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering team of Drs. Chandarlapaty, Scaltriti, and Norton are working to solve the mysteries of drug resistance and improve response to targeted therapies. Their goal is to understand how and why some genetic alterations are advantageous for the growth of breast cancer cells. This knowledge will be important to identify the vulnerabilities of these cells and test drugs that specifically target those alterations.
In the coming year, the research team will focus on three main topics: 1) Why a specific gene alteration is advantageous for breast cancer; 2) New strategies to prevent resistance to anti-HER2 therapies; 3) More effective ways to model metastatic breast cancer in the laboratory.
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.