CRI Funded Scientists

Rizwan Haq, MD, PhD, CLIP Investigator

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Area of Research: All Cancers

Checkpoint immunotherapies, such as those that target the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, can induce dramatic and long-lasting responses in subsets of cancer patients. However, most patients do not respond to these treatments, indicating that we need a better understanding of what leads to the variable responses in different patients in order to realize the full potential of these therapies.

Dr. Haq has identified a commonly mutated gene that affects the efficacy of PD-1-blocking immunotherapies, and found its mutated form turns off a pathway that protects cells from viruses. His studies suggest that reactivation of this pathway could improve clinical responses to checkpoint inhibitors in certain cancer patient populations, especially those with specific genomic biomarkers. Dr. Haq, therefore, is testing two strategies to restore the activity of this pathway using therapies that are currently in clinical trials. Given that these drugs are available for clinical testing, it is anticipated that his studies will translate into near-term approaches to enhance the success of cancer immunotherapy for more patients.

Projects and Grants

Dysregulation of Viral Innate Immune Pathways as a Mechanism Linking Common Oncogenic Mutations to Anti-PD-1 Resistance

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | All Cancers | 2020

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