Dr. Jänne is scientific co-director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Translational Research Laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. A preeminent translational oncologist whose work has fundamentally changed the way lung cancer is treated, Dr. Jänne’s research combines laboratory based studies with translational research and clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents in patients with lung cancer. In 2004, he was the co-first author of a seminal study that identified somatic mutations in EGFR in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors and demonstrated their association with the efficacy of the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib. This discovery helped explain why, despite the presence of EGFR in most lung cancers, only 10 percent to 15 percent of patients’ tumors regress with gefitinib. These observations were clinically validated, with results of a randomized, phase III clinical trial demonstrating that gefitinib is more effective than chemotherapy at improving progression-free survival rates for NSCLC patients harboring EGFR mutations. His current focus is on understanding mechanisms of acquired resistance to targeted therapies in a variety of cancers and developing new therapeutic strategies to effectively treat drug-resistant cancers. His studies helped identify MET amplification as a novel gefitinib resistance mechanism and have now inspired several clinical trials combining EGFR and MET inhibitors for gefitinib or erlotinib resistant lung cancer patients. He has received several awards for his research, including from Uniting Against Lung Cancer, American Lung Association and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. In 2008, he was elected as a member to the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He is also the recipient of 2010 American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award and the 2010 AACR Team Science Award.
Dr. Jänne received an M.D. and Ph.D. from the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his internship and residency in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In 2002, he earned a master’s degree in clinical investigation from Harvard University.
Dr. Wong is scientific co-director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Research, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending medical oncologist at the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. An internationally recognized leader in the development of mouse models of cancer, Dr. Wong has contributed tremendously to the understanding of the origins of cancer and the molecular determinants of treatment responses. He has authored more than 100 papers and several patents on the molecular biology of cancer and aging. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the nation’s oldest honor society for physician-scientists, and is the recipient of the Team Science Award from the American Association of Cancer Research in 2010. Dr. Wong’s research, teaching and clinical activities focus on understanding the pathogenesis and genetic alterations involved in lung tumorigenesis as well as testing novel targeted lung cancer therapeutics in vivo.
Dr. Wong received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and hematology and oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both at Harvard Medical School.
Head of Research
Dr. English is head of research of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science. An industry veteran with more than 14 years of extensive industry drug discovery experience, Dr. English most recently served as the vice president of kinase biology at ArQule, where she led target identification through product candidate selection and development support. Prior to ArQule, she was the oncology site lead for external discovery at Merck Research Laboratories, where she was responsible for driving drug discovery programs through external scientific collaborations with industrial and academic partners, including the Belfer Institute. Earlier in her career, Dr. English held leadership positions at the Pfizer Research Technology Center and Schering-Plough Research Institute. Dr. English is a member of the Women in Cancer Research Leadership Council of the American Association for Cancer Research and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During her career, Dr. English has authored or co-authored more than 25 scientific publications.
Dr. English earned her B.S. with honors in biochemistry from Kansas State University and her Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was a postdoctoral fellow at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, where she discovered a novel mammalian MAPK pathway through the discovery and characterization of MEK5. Dr. English also discovered the WNK gene family that was subsequently determined to be responsible for a hereditary form of hypertension.
In the News
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.
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.
Findings from the Translational Research Lab within the Belfer Institute demonstrate that circulating DNA from non-invasive plasma samples is a promising biomarker to monitor response and predict resistance in the clinic.
Belfer scientists collaborate with W. Kaelin MD , to demonstrate that the Ikaros family of transcription factors are key downstream mediators of the efficacy of thalidomide-like drugs.