Mutational activation of RAS genes is detected in approximately 25 percent of human cancers. However, to date, activated RAS oncoproteins remain intractable pharmacological targets. Research in the McMahon Lab focuses on the importance of RAS effectors, such as the RAF family of protein kinases and phosphoinositide 3’ (PI3’)-kinases in the aberrant physiology of cancer cells.
To do so, the lab employs genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models of human cancer, patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) and cultures of cancer cells in combination with various genetic or pharmacological to explore how signaling pathways contribute to cancer cell initiation, progression, and response to therapy.
McMahon Lab Translational Cancer Research Program
The McMahon lab’s translational cancer research program focuses on the mechanisms underlying the development of metastatic melanoma, lung, and thyroid cancer. Although these malignancies are derived from distinct cell types, they share a striking number of common genetic alterations especially activating mutations in KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA, or CTNNB1 (b-catenin).
In addition, many of these tumors display alterations in tumor suppressors such as CDKN2A, PTEN or TP53. To do this, Dr. McMahon’s laboratory works with cultured human cancer-derived cells and with genetically engineered mouse models of human cancer. Such model systems have demonstrated considerable value in the design and evaluation of new diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools to treat patients with cancer.
Scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah report today the development of new models to study molecular characteristics of tumors of the lung and pancreas that are driven by mutations in a gene named NTRK1. The findings were published today in the journal Cell Reports.... Read More
At Huntsman Cancer Institute, we're committed to delivering a cancer-free frontier. Our cancer researchers are on the cutting-edge of discovery and innovation, and we're excited by what these advancements mean for melanoma prevention and treatment. Together, we're building the future we want.... Read More
Huntsman Cancer Institute's CEO, Mary Beckerle, PhD, and Senior Director of Pre-Clinical Translation, Martin McMahon, PhD, have been appointed to prominent national advisory boards within the National Institutes of Health to provide expert advice on national cancer research initiatives.... Read More
In less than three years, HCI researchers have taken an idea from concept to lab to clinical evaluation. Conan Kinsey, MD, PhD, and Martin McMahon, PhD, combined two drugs that had not been used in combination before to treat pancreatic tumors. The results were promising and they were able to move from the lab to clinical trial quickly. A clinical trial to test the safety and effect of this drug combination in pancreatic cancer is now underway at HCI and planned at other sites around the United States. ... Read More
The Pancreatic Cancer Collective, the strategic partnership of the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), has awarded a total of $7 million in first-round “New Therapies Challenge” grants to seven teams of top cancer researchers to explore new pancreatic cancer treatments, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Scientific Partner of SU2C, announced today. Each team will receive up to $1 million in initial funding, with $4 million per team for clinical studies awaiting the most successful projects in the second round. ... Read More
Martin McMahon, PhD, and his research group study the genetic mutations that contribute to lung cancer. About 30% of lung cancers can now be treated based on the disease’s specific genetics. McMahon is hopeful that each subset of lung cancer will soon have its own precision treatment.... Read More