Kipp Weiskopf, MD, PhD

Kipp Weiskopf, MD, PhD

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Research Project:
Discovering More Effective Ways to Treat KRAS Mutant Lung Cancer

Grant Awarded:

  • Catalyst Award

Research Topic:

  • biomarkers

Research Disease:

  • lung cancer

“Targeted therapies” are drugs that turn off molecular switches in cancer cells to stop their growth. These therapies allow many lung cancer patients to live longer, but they do not cure patients. In most cases, the cancer returns or continues to grow after a few years. Immunotherapies, which train a patient’s immune system to fight cancer, have emerged as another promising treatment for lung cancer. Although there has been remarkable success using immunotherapies, these drugs also do not cure the majority of lung cancer patients. We will investigate how therapies that activate immune cells called macrophages can be used to enhance targeted therapies for cancer. We will focus our effort on lung cancers with specific mutations in a gene called KRAS, but we expect our findings will apply to other types of lung cancer as well. We hope that by combining these two types of therapies, we will identify a strategy to cure certain types of lung cancer.

We have found that immune cells called macrophages can be stimulated to attack KRAS mutant lung cancer cells. Furthermore, we have identified a novel combination of drugs that make KRAS mutant lung cancer cells more vulnerable to being attacked by macrophages. Our study indicates this combination therapy could benefit patients with KRAS mutant lung cancer. We hope these concepts will be tested in clinical trials as a next step.

Page last updated: September 12, 2023

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