McMahon Lab

The Importance of RAS Effectors 

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.

News & Blog

Pancreas Discovery Moves from Lab to Clinic
Mar 01, 2019

Pancreas Discovery Moves from Lab to Clinic

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 awards $7 million in first-round “New Therapies Challenge” Grants
Nov 20, 2018

The Pancreatic Cancer Collective awards $7 million in first-round “New Therapies Challenge” Grants

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

A Glass-Half-Full Approach to Lung Cancer in the McMahon Lab
Nov 30, 2017

A Glass-Half-Full Approach to Lung Cancer in the McMahon Lab

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

Noted UCSF Scientist Joins Research Team at Huntsman Cancer Institute
Apr 06, 2015

Noted UCSF Scientist Joins Research Team at Huntsman Cancer Institute

Martin McMahon, Ph.D., joins Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah in August as Professor in the Department of Dermatology and HCI Senior Director of Pre-Clinical Translation. Professor McMahon is currently the Efim Guzik Distinguished Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of California, San Francisco and Assistant Director of Professional Education and Co-leader of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCFCCC) Developmental Therapeutics Program.... Read More

Principle Investigator
Martin McMahon, PhD
Senior Director of Preclinical Translation, Principal Investigator
martin.mcmahon@hci.utah.edu
Cancer Center Bio

Contact Us

For information on joining our team, contact Karrie.Lasater@hci.utah.edu