Andrew Kung: Research Overview

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The Kung Lab leverages patient-driven discovery to identify drivers and therapeutic vulnerabilities in pediatric and young adult cancers. The research infrastructure of the lab bridges the clinic, dry lab and wet lab with experimental data derived from model systems as well as in-human studies. We have developed a variety of experimental platforms to support the preclinical evaluation of promising agents including capabilities for in vitro drug screening, cell line development from patient tumor tissue and in vivo testing in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. We have embraced computational biology approaches to predict genomically and non-genetically encoded tumor vulnerabilities, and utilize preclinical models to validate these therapeutic hypotheses.

Patient-derived Xenograft (PDX)

We have integrated workflows within the Department of Pediatrics to enable the universal identification of patients eligible for model development, tumor procurement and processing, and establishment of patient-derived cancer models. As a result, we have assembled a portfolio of ~300 PDX models that can be utilized for preclinical and basic science research. All models have been genomically characterized to confirm tumor identity and to validate the use of these models as patient avatars for co-clinical studies to interrogate mechanistic and therapeutic hypotheses.

Drug Screening

We have an extant drug screening platform comprised of over 2000 unique compounds and encompassing agents used in the clinic or undergoing evaluation in clinical trials. We have capabilities for assessing single agent and drug combination sensitivity profiles for adherent, non-adherent, and patient-derived tumor cells.

Cell Line Generation

We utilize whole genome and transcriptome sequencing to identify novel and recurrent drivers of pediatric and young adult cancers, and utilize integrative systems biology approaches to identify non-oncogene targets in these cancers.

Cancer Genomics and Transcriptomics

We utilize whole genome and transcriptome sequencing to identify novel and recurrent drivers of pediatric and young adult cancers, and utilize integrative systems biology approaches to identify non-oncogene targets in these cancers. 

By integrating data from each research platform, our group endeavors to provide functional characterization of genomic and transcriptomic findings and to model tumor responses to molecularly targeted agents laying the foundation for future pre- or post-clinical investigations.