Emerging Strategies to Overcome Heterogeneous Resistance Mechanisms

November 5th - 8th, 2020

Chaired By

 Joan Brugge, PhD, Harvard Medical School
 Charles Sawyers, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering
 Kris C. Wood, PhD, Duke University

Important Dates

 09/05/2020 - Travel Form )
 10/05/2020 - Abstracts )

Venue Information

Hilton Denver Inverness
200 Inverness Drive West
Englewood, CO 80112


Travel Agent Information

 Meeting #: Refer to your packet.
 Hours: 8:00am – 8:00 pm EST M-F
 Domestic: 669-210-8002
 International : 623-516-6140

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Program Description

Drug resistance limits the depth and duration of clinical responses to most anticancer therapies, including targeted therapies. This fact has motivated intense efforts in recent years to define the mechanisms of resistance to commonly used anticancer drugs based on the hope that by doing so, it will be possible to design new therapies that block these mechanisms and thereby circumvent resistance. In fact, the 2013 Forbeck Forum on Resistance Mechanisms, led by Joan Brugge, Ph.D. and Jeff Engelman, M.D., Ph.D. from Harvard (and attended by Dr. Wood), explored precisely this topic. Unfortunately, we now know that many diverse resistance mechanisms can exist for each drug, and these mechanisms often co-occur within individual patients. As a result, efforts to improve therapeutic responses by blocking individual resistance mechanisms have largely failed, while efforts to block combinations of resistance mechanisms have been limited by toxicities.

In light of this challenge, emerging studies in the field are seeking to identify creative and fundamentally new strategies to circumvent resistance. These strategies include identifying common downstream signaling nodes shared by many or all major resistance mechanisms; profiling resistant cells to identify “collateral sensitivities” – vulnerabilities caused by evolutionary trade-offs made by cancer cells along the path to resistance; defining drug combinations with non-overlapping resistance landscapes, and exploring the possibility of individually targeting discrete subclones. Already these studies have yielded compelling results. However, they have largely been performed in isolation from one another. Now is, therefore, an opportune time to gather experts in the field working on the problem of heterogeneous resistance to discuss and critically examine these emerging strategies with the goal of identifying key areas for focus and collaboration.

The concept of this Forbeck Focus meeting has already been discussed with several leaders in the field of drug resistance who have pledged their enthusiastic support and attendance. These include Michael Hemann (MIT), Joan Brugge (Harvard), Trever Bivona (UCSF), and Saurav Bandyopadhyay (UCSF). Any of these scientists would be willing to co-chair the meeting if needed. Additional invitees to the meeting will include: Jeff Engelman (Novartis), Aaron Hata (MGH), Alberto Bardelli (Torino), Martin Nowak (Harvard), Alice Shaw (MGH), Victor Velculescu (Johns Hopkins), Charles Sawyers (MSKCC), Timothy Ley (Washington University), and Charles Swanton (CRUK).

Participant Information

Participant Institution
Saurav Bandyopadhyay, PhD University of California, San Francisco
Alberto Bardelli, PhD University of Torino
Trever Bivona, MD, PhD University of California, San Francisco
Joan Brugge, PhD Harvard Medical School
Christina Curtis, PhD, MSc Stanford University
Nick Haining Merck
Michael Hemann, PhD MIT
Christine Lovly, MD, PhD Vanderbilt University
Ira Mellman Genetech
Gordon Mills, MD, PhD Ohio State University
Nick Navin, PhD MD Anderson
Nelly Polyak, MD, PhD Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Charles Sawyers, PhD Memorial Sloan Kettering
Charles Swanton, FRCP, BSc, PhD The Francis Crick Institute
Jennifer Wargo, MD, MMSc MD Anderson
Kris Wood, PhD Duke University

Scholars Attending

Scholar Institution

Airport Information

Denver International Airport (DEN) is the preferred airport as it is only 30 minutes from the meeting location.

  • Arrivals - Thursday at 1 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM
  • Departures - Sunday at 10 AM and 12 PM


The abstracts should be only one or two paragraphs outlining the theme of your presentation and should reflect the objective and spirit of the meeting (see above). Abstracts will be circulated about one week before the meeting. The meeting organizer will start requesting them a month before the meeting.

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