The overall goal of our laboratory is to investigate the signaling pathways deregulated in melanoma aiming at designing effective therapeutic strategies that may 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 a large percentage of human melanomas and has been an attractive target for therapy. Although recent clinical trials using selective BRAF inhibitors have shown impressive results, these compounds are only effective in a subset of patients and initially responsive tumors eventually develop resistance. We believe that understanding the mechanisms underlying drug resistance will lead to the development of effective strategies to overcome it or even prevent its emergence.