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Yosef Yarden, PhD

Yosef Yarden, PhD

Grant Status

Weizmann Institute of Science

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
Lung Cancer: Immune-based, Game-changing Strategies to Overcoming Resistance to Kinase Inhibitors

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Drug Resistance, Experimental Therapeutics, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

About the Investigator:

Prof. Yosef Yarden’s research focuses on understanding the roles played by growth factors in the progression of tumors and the opportunities that in-depth understanding can offer in terms of developing novel anti-cancer drugs. He received his BSc from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his PhD in Immunology from the Weizmann Institute. He then trained in the USA, first at Genentech, Inc., a drug company affiliated with Roche, and then at the Whitehead Institute of MIT. After his return to the Weizmann Institute, Dr. Yarden served as Dean of the Feinberg Graduate School and Dean of the Faculty of Biology. He is currently the Harold & Zelda Goldenberg Chair in Molecular Cell Biology, and Director of the Dwek Institute for Cancer Therapy Research.

About the Research:

Prof. Yarden’s research project focuses on drug-resistant, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) carrying mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR). Despite the fact that this disease affects millions around the globe, it has remained incurable. Similar to bacterial infections treated with antibiotics, EGFR-mutated lung tumors sequentially develop new mutations during treatment with first, second, and third-generation drugs, collectively called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). While fourth-generation compounds are being developed, there is no guarantee that next-generation TKIs, will ever confer a resistance-free response. There is a need to reconsider these sequential (almost whack-a-mole) TKI treatment strategies, which have not met with long-term success.

Prof. Yarden proposes to test an experimental upfront treatment regimen that combines the power of antibodies and TKIs. Preliminary data from the Yarden lab identified a route for drug evasion that may be blocked by treatment with antibodies along with TKIs. The proposed test of this strategy will provide a deeper understanding of the modes of drug resistance and a paradigm for generating antibodies and pharmacological strategies capable of blocking drug evasion routes and prolonging survival of patients with lung cancer.


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