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Cocco Lab

Biology of tumors harboring rare oncogenic drivers and response to targeted therapy

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Investigator / Contact Person Emiliano Cocco, Ph.D.

Research Focus

My laboratory studies the biology of tumors that harbor rare oncogenic drivers. These include NTRK, RET, FGFR and MET fusions, MET exon 14 skipping and other uncommon genomic alterations. We also investigate how these tumors initially respond and then adapt and evolve to become resistant to targeted therapy. Understanding the pathogenesis of these tumors and unveiling the mechanisms of resistance to therapy is crucial for the identification of alternative therapeutic strategies. Our approach is based on the study of primary and engineered cell models as well as on the generation of Patient-Derived-Xenografts (PDXs). These tools are not only used to answer fundamental biologic questions but also to develop personalized, ad-hoc therapies. In addition, my laboratory is interested in understanding the role that recurrently mutated epigenetic regulators have in the development of rare gynecological malignancies such as Uterine Serous Carcinomas (USC) and Carcinosarcomas (CS). Overall, my lab is focused on identifying novel strategies to target tumors that are driven by rare genomic alterations.

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