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This Forum has been generously sponsored by the 2019 Holiday Matching Program.

Leveraging Synthetic Lethality to treat Cancer

February 20th - 23rd, 2020

Chaired By

 Carla Grandori, MD, PhD, SEngine Precision Medicine
 Christopher Kemp, PhD, Fred Hutchinson

Important Dates

 12/20/2019 - Travel Form )
 01/20/2020 - Abstracts )

Venue Information

The Inn at Ranchero Santa Fee
5951 Linea Del Cielo
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067


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

Two major roadblocks to improve cancer patient outcome are 1) the shortage of effective drugs and 2) the lack of precision in assigning existing drugs to patients. Most cancer drug development efforts focus on targeting a small number of genes that are commonly mutated in cancers such as activated oncogenes. However, these approaches have only benefited a small percentage of cancer patients, due to the inability to effectively target many mutated cancer genes and the overwhelming complexity of cancer genomes. An additional roadblock is that the model systems used most often in cancer research, cell lines and mouse models, do not sufficiently mimic any given patient’s cancer, so results obtained with these models often do not translate to clinical benefit.

  1. What are the challenges and best practices to discover novel cancer drug targets? The genetic mutations that help create cancers also create weaknesses, or “synthetic lethal vulnerabilities” in cancer cells. Targeting these vulnerabilities may be effective against the cancer cells while sparing normal cells thereby reducing toxic side effects that are typical of standard chemotherapies.
  2. What are the challenges and best practices for drug development, drug repurposing, and clinical trial design in the era of personalized medicine? The meeting will discuss the use of cancer cells obtained directly from cancer patients as a model system to nominate candidate drugs for clinical trials.

Because these challenges are interrelated, an integrated approach is called for. This meeting will bring together a diverse panel of experts and thought leaders to share their ideas and discuss strategies to overcome these barriers toward achieving the goals of personalized medicine.

Participant Information

Participant Institution
Cheryl Arrowsmith, PhD Princess Margaret Cancer Center
Jonathan B. Baell, PhD Monash University
Rene Bernards, PhD Netherlands Cancer Institute
Andrew Biankin, MD University of Glasgow
Charles Boone, PhD University of Toronto
Nyasha Chambwe, PhD St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Adrienne D. Cox, PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mathew Garnett, PhD Wellcome Sanger Institute
Carla Grandori, MD, PhD SEngine Precision Medicine
Christopher Kemp, PhD Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Christopher Lord Institute of Cancer Research, London
Beverly Mock, PhD National Institutes of Health
Michael Pishvaian MD Anderson
Paul Workman The Institute of Cancer Research
Michael Yaffe, MD, PhD MIT

Scholars Attending

Scholar Institution
Brooke Emerling, PhD Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Andrew Venteicher, MD, PhD University of Minnesota
Mark Zimmerman, PhD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Airport Information

San Diego International Airport (SAN) is approximately 30 minutes from the meeting location.

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

International participants are welcome to arrive on Wednesday to minimize chances for missed or delayed connections.


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.

This Forum has been generously sponsored by the 2019 Holiday Matching Program.