I am a clinical trialist and translational scientist. My research brings novel treatments for lung cancer to the clinic and also defines methods of tailoring therapeutic recommendations to individual patients with lung cancer. I focus primarily on non-small cell lung cancer with somatic EGFR activating mutations, therapeutic agents that interact with the EGF receptor, innovative strategies for understanding and overcoming resistance to EGFR-targeted therapies, and other novel, targeted therapies in early development. I have become internationally known for my efforts to promote active pursuit of patient biopsies for genotyping, both at the time of diagnosis and subsequently after acquired resistance to therapy. Biopsies for genotyping can allow greater personalization of cancer treatments and have uncovered many unexpected discoveries about lung cancer biology and drug resistance. At Mass General, our group has developed procedures to take these biopsies and keep cells alive in the lab as patient-derived cell lines and xenografts. This has enabled a much more sophisticated functional assessment of the resistant cells and has allowed us to test novel therapy strategies in a real-world setting. As a future alternative to these invasive biopsies, I have also been heavily involved in the development of less invasive methods for genotyping, such as circulating tumor cells and circulating free tumor DNA testing. My patients and their stories drive me and keep me grounded. I am also interested in lung cancer awareness and advocacy within the general public, training young clinical researchers, travel and spending fun time with my family.
Lecia VanDam Sequist, MD, MPH