The Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative (TORI) was initiated in 2015 through a generous gift from the Dudley Family. The goal of this initiative was to advance lung cancer research at the University of Colorado, building on a long history of collaborations spanning basic, translational and clinical research. The Lung Cancer Program has been a flagship at the University of Colorado, as evidenced by having been funded as a Special Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) for over 25 years.
The program brings together investigators from multiple departments and centers across the campus, including Medicine, Pharmacology, Immunology, Pathology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, the School of Dental Medicine and the School of Public Health. Major areas of strength in lung cancer research include characterization and treatment of preneoplastic lesions, targeted therapies against oncogenic tyrosine kinase drivers, and determinants of response to immunotherapy.
Investigators currently are supported by major grants from the NCI, VA, DOD, LUNGevity Foundation, and the AACR. In addition, University of Colorado has become a national and international clinical center for chemopreventive and immunopreventive clinical trials, as well as treatment of lung cancers with identified oncogenic drivers. Interactions between clinicians and basic/translational scientists have led to studies correlating findings in preclinical models with analysis of tissues from lung cancer patients.
Following a national search, Dr. Robert Doebele was selected as the first director of TORI. Dr. Doebele who has made pioneering discoveries in fusion kinase driven lung cancer, has fostered closer collaboration between basic investigators and clinical trials, with a focus on understanding mechanisms of resistance leading to residual disease. Dr. Doebele has stepped down this year to pursue pharmacological development of novel therapeutic agents. There is currently a national search for his successor.
TORI is committed to promoting these interactions and fostering new collaborations, with a goal of acquiring funding through multi-investigator mechanisms, as well as initiating new clinical trials. The Initiative works with other programs and initiatives within the Cancer Center and across the institution.
James DeGregori, PhD, Co-Interim Director
Raphael Nemenoff, PhD, Co-Interim Director
Moumita Ghosh, PhD
Anh Le, BA
Adrie Van Bokhoven, PhD