Dr Victoria El Khoury, researcher at the Proteome and Genome Research Unit in LIH’s Department of Oncology, and Prof Rolf Bjerkvig, Department Director, were granted funding by “Action LIONS Vaincre le Cancer” of the Lions Clubs Luxembourg for their research project aiming at identifying therapeutic strategies to overcome resistance to third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors in lung cancer treatment.
Despite important technological and biomedical breakthroughs, lung cancer is still a leading cause of death in the world. EGFR-targeted therapies using EGFR inhibitors such as gefitinib and erlotinib have shown remarkable activity against non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) bearing EGFR activating mutations. Nevertheless, the emergence of resistance to these agents seems inevitable, and is often related to the T790M mutation in the EGFR kinase domain. To overcome T790M-mediated resistance, third-generation EGFR inhibitors have been developed, but resistance to these new inhibitors has also already been reported.
A better understanding of the molecular basis of resistance to third-generation EGFR inhibitors is essential to develop therapeutic strategies to overcome drug resistance. ‘This project involves state-of-the art high-throughput technologies to find new therapeutic targets and combination treatments with third-generation EGFR inhibitors to reverse or circumvent drug resistance in lung cancer and to identify the subset of patients who could benefit the most from these treatments’, says Dr El Khoury.
This project complements the work initiated in the frame of the Partnership for Personalised Medicine (PPM) programme whose main goal is to contribute to the advancement of personalised medicine in lung cancer.