Cancer Evolution Convergence Team - Stand Up To Cancer

Convergence Teams

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SU2C–National Science Foundation Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team:
Genetic, Epigenetic, and Immunological Underpinnings of Cancer Evolution Through Treatment

Grant Term: September 2015–December 2019

The SU2C–National Science Foundation (NSF) Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team focuses on non-small cell lung cancer and on acute myeloid leukemia, where despite initial beneficial responses to treatment, resistance to further treatment is all too common. Mathematical modeling approaches are being used to understand the evolution of drug resistance and to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed at keeping the cancers from adapting to treatments.

Supported by:


Preclinical and clinical studies have informed the development of increasingly effective cancer therapies. However, in the majority of cases patients subsequently develop resistance to the therapies that previously worked.

This SU2C–NSF Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team comprises cancer biologists, physician scientists with expertise in clinical oncology, and mathematical modelers. Using patient samples of two cancers as test cases (acute myeloid leukemia and non-small cell lung cancer), they are investigating the dynamics of therapeutic response and resistance in patients. These models will change in response to treatment and tumor evolution, allowing investigators to computationally test possible treatment regimens and select the most promising results for examination in cell culture, mouse models, and eventually in clinical trials. This research will help scientists understand the emergence of resistance to therapies in cancer cells and test new treatments to overcome that resistance.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C–NSF Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C–NSF Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team.

Convergence Team Members

Ross L. Levine, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Steven J. Altschuler, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

Chang S. Chan, PhD
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Daniel S. Fisher, PhD
Stanford University

Aaron Hata, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Harlan Robins, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Lecia VanDam Sequist, MD, MPH
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Alice Lustig
Stand Up To Cancer
Project Manager


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and six-monthly reviews by senior scientists. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click on the link to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C–NSF Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team.



The Dynamics of Adaptive Genetic Diversity During the Early Stages of Clonal Evolution
Blundell JR, Schwartz K, Francois D, et al (2019)
Nature Ecology & Evolution 3(2):293-301.
Prevalence of Clonal Hematopoiesis Mutations in Tumor-Only Clinical Genomic Profiling of Solid Tumors
Ptashkin RN, Mandelker DL, Coombs CC, et al (2018)
JAMA Oncology 4(11):1589-1593.
Drug Persistence - From Antibiotics to Cancer Therapies
Kochanowski K, Morinishi L, Altschuler S, et al (2018)
Current Opinion in Systems Biology 10:1-8.
Sampling Strategies to Capture Single-Cell Heterogeneity
Rajaram S, Heinrich LE, Gordan JD, et al (2017)
Nature Methods 14(10):967-970.
Tumor Cells Can Follow Distinct Evolutionary Paths to Become Resistant to Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibition
Hata AN, Niederst MJ, Archibald HL, et al. (2016)
Nature Medicine 22(23):262-9.
See MoreLess Publications


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At, you’ll find information and answers to common questions about clinical trials. Learn more and talk to your doctor to see if a clinical trial may be the best choice for you.



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