Our Science

Our Approach

One of the key challenges facing today’s oncology researchers and pharmaceutical companies developing cancer treatments is the high failure rate of experimental drugs. Lack of deep understanding of the biology of cancer drug targets and the molecular drivers of cancer has historically hampered advancement of oncology therapeutics. Today, advances in tumor characterization, functional genomic screening, and progress in understanding pathway biology and drug discovery are making it possible to overcome these challenges and revolutionize cancer drug development.

The Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science is a fully integrated, collaborative cancer research center offering innovative drug discovery capabilities that range from the identification of new targets and their full validation to delineation of responder ID, mechanisms of resistance, and combination approaches.

The Belfer Institute’s unique approach integrates mechanistic insights underlying cancer biology with highly predictive functional screening, enabling our scientists to operate at the leading edge of today’s cancer research, discovering and validating new and novel drug targets for specific forms of cancer and specific patient populations.

The Belfer Institute offers:

An innovative and streamlined process of discovering and validating novel cancer targets

  • Extensive scientific expertise and unparalleled research facilities, with particular strength in in vivo capabilities, make it possible for its scientists to move quickly to validate key cancer targets more thoroughly than ever before

A fully integrated approach

  • The Belfer Institute offers the broadest range of research capabilities and platforms - all integrated to drive not only breakthrough science, but innovative cancer drug development
  • The Belfer Institute is an integrated research center within the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute network and is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, providing our researchers with access to broader research collaborations and key data
  • By integrating its expertise and capabilities in cancer genomics, target biology and drug discovery, the Belfer Institute is efficiently building a promising cancer drug discovery pipeline
    • Disease-based functional and clinical validation platforms
    • Genetically-engineered mouse and patient-derived tumor models
    • Cancer genomics and bioinformatics
    • Drug discovery

A collaborative, world-renowned team with a proven record of drug development success

  • The structure of the Belfer Institute enables scientists to work with peers at other centers of excellence to drive innovative, cross-disciplinary research
  • A growing team of 50 professional scientists with extensive experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies

In the News

Dr. Cloud Paweletz's publication - "Noninvasive detection of response and resistance in EGFR-mutant lung cancer using quantitative next-generation genotyping of cell-free plasma DNA" - cited in Oncology Times "Best Lung Cancer Research of 2014".

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Molecular Cancer Research (MCR) editorial group has selected a Belfer publication - “Evaluating TBK1 as a Therapeutic Target in Cancers with Activated IRF3” - to be reprinted in a 2014 Must-Read compilation for AACR.

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Dr. P. Janne and Dr. C. Paweletz discuss an innovative approach for tumor genotyping and disease monitoring for targeted lung cancer therapies.

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Belfer & Janssen announce collaboration on cancer immunotherapies for lung cancer

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Phase I Study of Novel Third-Generation EGFR Inhibitor Holds Promise Against Resistance Mutation in Patients With Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Belfer scientists identified phospho-IRF3 as a biomarker of TBK1 activity in K-Ras mutant pancreatic cancer. TBK1 inhibition may have therapeutic potential in defined patient populations.

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Poster presentation, PDx Platform of High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer, at the 2014 AACR General Meeting in San Diego by Sangeetha Palakurthi PhD, Head of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology.

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Oral presentation, Serial monitoring of EGFR mutations in plasma NSCLC patients by ddPCR, at the 2014 AACR General Meeting in San Diego by Cloud Paweletz PhD, Head of Translational Research Lab.

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