Pedro Rodriguez Cutillas
Talk title: Systems Biology of Oncogenic Kinase Signalling
I graduated with a PhD in 2004 from University College London, UK. My studies (completed in the laboratories of Prof Mike Waterfield, Prof Rainer Cramer and Prof Al Burlingame) were on a project that investigated kidney physiology and were supervised by Prof Robert Unwin. I then completed postdoctoral training at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (UCL branch) in the laboratory of Bart Vanhaesebroeck.
In 2007, I became lecturer at the Barts Cancer Institute (Centre for Cell Signalling). After a period in the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (2012-2013), where I was Head of the Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, I joined the Barts Cancer Institute (Centre for Haemoto-Oncology) in 2013 as a Reader in Cell Signalling and Proteomics.
Kinase inhibitors are revolutionizing the way most tumour types are treated. However, not all cancer patients respond to these compounds to the same extent, and relapse limits their efficacy. The work in my group aims to understand why some tumours respond to targeted therapies while others are resistant to the same treatments. Using label-free phosphoproteomics and computational approaches for inferring kinase activity from phosphoproteomics data, we found that the activities of pathways acting in parallel to PI3K determine whether or not primary leukaemia cells may respond to PI3K inhibitors. Using similar approaches, we have recently found that specific combinations of pathway activities explain the mode of action of MEK and FLT3 inhibitors in leukaemia. These data suggest that technology for measuring the signalling network as a whole (rather than just the pathway that is being targeted) may be able to predict clinical sensitivity to signalling inhibitors with high accuracy.