Jeffrey A. Engelman, MD, PhD
Dr. Engelman is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is the Director of Thoracic Oncology and Director of Molecular Therapeutics at the Mass General Cancer Center. In his role as the Director of Thoracic Oncology, he directs the thoracic oncology team’s research program. This program integrates laboratory studies, clinical trials, and comprehensive molecular analyses of cancers to pioneer individualized therapies, a mission central to the Mass General Cancer Center.
Dr. Engelman is also the Principal Investigator of his own laboratory at the MGH Cancer Center. The research goal of his laboratory is to advance targeted therapies to benefit patients with cancer. His research focuses on understanding the biological underpinnings of sensitivity and resistance to specific kinase inhibitor targeted therapies in cancers with specific genetic abnormalities. In particular, he focuses on the regulation of key signaling networks that regulate cancer cell growth and survival. His lab studies how perturbation of specific signaling pathways (alone or in combination) impairs cell growth and induces cell death in the context of specific genetic abnormalities. The laboratory studies encompass established targeted paradigms such as ALK positive lung cancers as well as cancers for which no effective targeted therapy currently exists, such as KRAS mutant cancers. In situations, when targeted therapies are effective, his lab investigates how resistance develops.
To understand how resistance to these therapies develops, his lab cultures genetically defined, sensitive cancer cell line models until resistance emerges (in vitro and in vivo). These models are then used to figure out how resistance develops. Using these methodologies, his lab has discovered resistance mechanisms that occur in patients, and these findings have led to novel therapeutic strategies that are being explored in the clinic. These laboratory efforts leverage complimentary efforts in the clinic in which patient tumors are biopsied upon the development of resistance. These biopsies are interrogated for the resistance mechanisms identified in the laboratory studies. In addition, resistant cancers harvested directly from patients can occasionally be grown as tissue culture models or in mice and are interrogated directly to discover resistance mechanisms and newer, promising therapeutic strategies.
Dr. Engelman received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Northwestern University and his MD and PhD degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his medical residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and his fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Massachusetts General Hospital combined program. He joined the Harvard Medical School faculty and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2005.