Radiation therapy is used to kill tumor cells through the production of lethal damage to their DNA. Because each cancer is unique to each person, cancers vary greatly in the way they respond to DNA damage.

Some cancers are unable to repair the damage to their DNA and are thus easily eradicated by radiation. Other cancers tolerate large amounts of radiation or have evolved enhanced DNA repair capabilities, rendering them radiation resistant.

With this knowledge, we can exploit weaknesses in how cancers repair their damaged DNA, which will enhance the efficacy of radiation therapy.

Targeting DNA damage and its repair in tumors grants an unprecedented opportunity to fundamentally change how we treat cancer patients.

-Henning Willers, MD
Co-Director of the Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Radiation

As modern molecular profiling approaches provide us with unique insights into the biology of DNA damage responses and repair, it is critical that we acquire a better understanding of how different tumors respond differently to DNA damage.

By integrating expertise in radiation biology, cancer biology, genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, molecular imaging, and related areas, we are uniquely poised to make novel discoveries and develop innovative treatment strategies.

Our researchers are participating in clinical trials that dissect and exploit the DNA damage response in tumors, which may result in novel, personalized treatment approaches aimed at cancer eradication.

Click here to view our active clinical trials.

Meet Our Researchers

Andrew Elia, MD, PhD

Andrew Elia, MD, PhD
Investigating basic mechanisms of DNA damage response in cancers and associated vulnerabilities that can be therapeutically exploited.

Visit the Elia Lab website.

 

Sophia Kamran, MD

Sophia Kamran, MD
Investigating the genomic underpinnings of differential responses to radiation through clinical computational analyses with specific focus on mutations that disrupt DNA-damage response pathways for biomarker discovery.

 

David T. Miyamoto, MD, PhD

David T. Miyamoto, MD, PhD
Developing biomarkers of sensitivity and resistance to DNA damaging anti-cancer therapies in bladder and prostate cancer.

Visit the Miyamoto Lab website.

 

Henning Willers, MD

Henning Willers, MD
Discovering biomarkers of sensitivity to proton beam therapy and exploring novel combination therapies with DNA repair inhibitors.

Visit the Willers Lab website.