Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program: About Us

The Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) at Memorial Sloan Kettering was founded to address the challenges presented by cancer research in the era of targeted therapies. By bringing together researchers in many disciplines, our goal is to advance scientific knowledge while bridging discoveries made in the laboratory with those made in the clinic.

Targeted therapies constitute a new class of cancer treatments that have been made possible by advances in the understanding of cancer genetics. These treatments may be individualized based on a unique set of molecular targets produced by a patient's tumor. Because they target specific molecular markers, targeted therapies may also reduce side effects and improve a patient's quality of life during treatment.

Successful translation of molecular insights into clinical trials of new therapies requires close collaboration among teams of physician-scientists with diverse clinical and scientific training. Under the leadership of Charles Sawyers, HOPP has recruited faculty who are physician-scientists carrying out both laboratory and clinical activities. Our members are experts in skin, colon, prostate, breast, lung, and thyroid cancers, as well as sarcoma, melanoma, glioblastoma, and leukemia, and have clinical training in oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, endocrinology, and pathology.

HOPP has established an infrastructure for conducting molecular profiling studies of patient tumor samples on a routine basis. This information is guiding the testing of new targeted therapies in clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering.