The Hamoui Foundation and LUNGevity Foundation recently announced the 2022 recipients of the first The Hamoui Foundation/LUNGevity Clinical Research Award for RET-Positive Lung Cancer. RET is a driver mutation found in approximately 1% to 2% of people with non–small cell lung cancer. The goal of these awards is to transform the future for those diagnosed with RET-positive lung cancer by changing this type of lung cancer into a chronic or curable condition. Together, these awards total $1 million over 2 years; funds were provided by The Hamoui Foundation.
The 2022 award has been presented to the following individuals:
Alexander Drilon, MD
John Heymach, MD, PhD
Tejas Patil, MD
Alexander Drilon, MD, Associate Professor, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York: “Identifying Non-Genomic Mechanisms of RET TKI Resistance.” Many RET-positive cancers become resistant to targeted therapy for reasons not clearly based on genetic changes alone. Dr. Drilon predicts that other causes of resistance include (1) chemical changes that turn cancer-causing genes “on” or “off” and (2) changes in how these cancers look under the microscope that affect cancer behavior. Because these changes affect cell states rather than mutations, this resistance is potentially reversible, defining a key opportunity to maintain, restore, and extend sensitivity to potent and specific RET inhibitors.
John Heymach, MD, PhD, Professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston: “Novel Structure-Based and Combinatorial Approaches for RET-Fusion NSCLC.” There is an urgent need to identify new agents or combination therapies to benefit patients whose tumors have developed resistance to current RET inhibitors. Currently, the true extent of RET-dependent vs RET-independent mechanisms of resistance is unknown.
Dr. Heymach’s team will study mechanisms and biomarkers of RET-independent drug resistance and test different drug combinations to overcome RET inhibitor resistance.
Tejas Patil, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Denver: “MET and EGFR as Biomarkers for Amivantamab in Overcoming RET TKI Resistance.” Two possible pathways that seem to be important for resistance to RET inhibitors are the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MET signaling pathways. Conventional methods of detecting EGFR or MET resistance may not identify many cases in which both pathways are involved. In this study, Dr. Patil will use several different laboratory techniques to better detect and define EGFR and MET resistance. He anticipates that the EGFR and MET pathways can be blocked by a newer drug called amivantamab, which is a bispecific antibody that specifically targets both EGFR and MET.
The Hamoui Foundation is a private family foundation based in Southern California. The Foundation’s goal is to focus efforts on a select number of key initiatives to create visible step changes in the organizations they support.