Doing our part to make cancer history
Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer with an incidence that is rising rapidly. It is estimated that 80,000 patients will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2016 in the United States, with over 10,000 patients dying of metastatic disease. The impact of this on society is significant, costing a significant number of life years lost per cancer-related death (melanoma is 2nd in this ranking) and draining the US economy by $3.5 billion per year. Thus, melanoma is an aggressive disease with a rising incidence and a significant public health burden. Though early stage disease may be cured with surgery, late stage disease is often fatal. Research is an important part in fighting this cancer.
Research in the Wargo Lab focuses on:
- Exploring the role of the tumor microbiome in response and resistance to molecularly targeted therapy for melanoma. The major goal of this project is to establish a new dimension in cancer treatment targeting the microbiome with the potential to combine this strategy with molecularly targeted therapies.
- Exploring molecular and immune mechanisms of response and resistance to combined BRAF / MEK inhibition in patients with high-risk resectable metastatic melanoma. The major goals of this project is determine the influence of treatment with neoadjuvant / adjuvant BRAF/MEK inhibition in patients with high-risk resectable BRAF-mutant melanoma. Characterize molecular mechanisms of resistance to combined BRAF/MEK inhibition and correlate with response to treatment and relapse-free survival.
- Exploring the Synergy of Combined BRAF-Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy for Melanoma. The major goals of this project are (1) to better understand the downstream signaling responses and immune responses to oncogenic BRAF and the BRAF/MAPK pathway inhibition in melanoma; and (2) to study these responses in vitro and in an in vivo model of BRAF-mutant melanoma, as well as in patients with metastatic melanoma being treated with BRAF/MAPK pathway inhibitors.
- An immune repertoire deep sequencing companion diagnostic for ipilimumab. The major goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that the pre-treatment TCRB repertoire of peripheral and tumor infiltrating T-cells predict late stage melanoma patient’s response to ipilimumab.
Wargo Lab Publications
Our findings are published in high-impact scientific research journals.