The overall goal of our laboratory is to investigate the signaling pathways deregulated in melanoma aiming at designing effective therapeutic strategies that could have long-lasting effects in the clinic. We are particularly interested in dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying intrinsic and acquired resistance to targeted agents.
The incidence of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, continues to rise and constitutes an important public health problem. Furthermore, no long-lasting therapies are currently available to treat advanced metastatic melanoma. BRAF, a component of the MAPK signal transduction pathway, is mutated in half of human melanomas and has been an attractive target for therapy. Despite the success of BRAF inhibitors for melanoma therapy, these compounds are only effective in a subset of patients; furthermore, initially responsive tumors eventually develop drug resistance. Understanding the mechanisms underlying drug resistance is critical to development effective strategies to overcome it or even prevent its emergence.