Research Frontiers

Our research in thoracic diseases includes:

  • Personalized and Targeted Therapy: A unique part of our division is the integration and application of groundbreaking scientific research into the clinical care of our patients. These research efforts are being carried out in the Thoracic Surgery Translational Laboratory. Andrew J. Kaufman, MD, Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the director of the Translational Thoracic Research Program, is focusing on personalized therapy for multiple thoracic malignancies. In collaboration with Goutham Narla, MD, PhD, Department of Genetic and Genomic Sciences, the thoracic division is currently working on identifying and designing novel small molecule inhibitors to treat drug resistant cancers.

  • Lung Cancer: Based on a patient's DNA, our investigators are deciphering what new drugs may have added benefit in treating the individual's cancer. Some lung cancers are known to be driven by mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene. New targeted therapies with tyrosine kinase inhibitors have had dramatic effects. However, resistance usually develops after time. Our team is actively designing a new small molecule inhibitor that overcomes the tumor's resistance by blocking key pathways within the cancerous cell.

  • Mesothelioma: The Thoracic Surgery Translational Laboratory is identifying important molecular pathways and key proteins involved with this deadly cancer. Transcription factors -- sometimes referred to as sequence-specific DNA-binding factors -- are key proteins involved in cell growth and survival and are known to drive many cancers, including mesothelioma. Our investigators are developing new tests to see which mesothelioma tumors have abnormal transcription factor activity, and we are designing novel drug therapies to inhibit these factors.