Lawrence Kwong, Ph.D.
Areas of Research
- Melanoma Research
- Bile Duct Cancer Research
- Gene Expression Research
- Genomics Research
- Colorectal Cancer Research
- Chromatin Remodelers Research
The Kwong Laboratory is focused on generating novel therapies for cholangiocarcinoma, melanoma, and colorectal cancer by uniting human sample analyses with mouse models and bioinformatics to model targetable networks for combination therapy. Our laboratory is highly translational in nature with an emphasis on in vivo drug efficacy, with the goal of improving drug regimens for clinical use, with the ultimate goal of extending patient survival.
The Kwong Laboratory has experience in:
- drug resistance studies using human samples and mouse models to triangulate novel mechanistic insights
- dentifying novel therapies as both frontline and counter-resistance therapies
- performing functional studies to validate drug targets and identify new oncogenes and tumor suppressors
- conducting bioinformatics and developing new approaches to both large-scale data and to targeted translational projects
- leading and participating in large-scale consortia
- collaborating across institutions, with clinicians, basic scientists, and bioinformaticians
- conducting genetic and drug screens
Our current interests include identifying and overcoming drug resistance, both in clinical samples and model systems, and identifying new drug targets based on new molecular insights. Currently, we are collaborating with clinicians within MD Anderson to:
- sequence patient samples before and after drug resistance
- identify the responsible mutations
- identify therapies to counteract the resistance pathways
We previously identified MEK plus CDK4/6 inhibitors as a potent drug combination in NRAS-mutant melanoma, and we're currently describing the first case of acquired resistance to this combination, having identified a likely resistance-conferring mutation. We're also exploring two drug classes that have not previously had clinical resistance described, spanning melanoma, cholangiocarcinoma, and colon cancer.
Another project using model systems is focused on a drug target called PKCa, which we have recently demonstrated to be a major biomarker and likely therapeutic vulnerability in melanomas that are intrinsically resistant to MEK inhibitors.
We are also exploring immunotherapy and chromatin modifiers in all three cancer types, and are interested in finding new drug targets using genome-wide and functional assays to understand how ARID1A, ARID2, PBRM1, and BAP1 function in different tissue contexts.
Join Our Lab
Our laboratory is open to graduate students with a specific interest in gene expression and with a bioinformatics background. Please refer to the research page for more information about projects of interest and contact us for more information.