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Molecular Therapeutics

John Karanicolas, PhD is a professor at Fox Chase, in the molecular therapeutics research program.John Karanicolas, PhD is a professor at Fox Chase, in the molecular therapeutics research program.

The mission of the Molecular Therapeutics (MT) program, is to generate laboratory and clinical insights that improve the treatment of cancer, increasing cures, and reducing treatment-associated morbidity.

Research in the program is divided into two complementary themes:

1. Precision analysis of cancer-associated proteins

Laboratory-based program members focus on producing scientific discoveries that are directly relevant to improving cancer treatment. To this end, some MT members apply X-ray crystallography, NMR, computational methods, machine learning, and molecular simulations to understand protein structure, and to design new compounds and antibodies for both classic and unconventional protein targets.

Other MT members analyze genomic and metabolomic features of tumors, or use patient-derived avatars, model organisms, and other in vivo approaches to support more nuanced and effective use of protein-targeted drugs and radiation, and advance new therapies towards the clinic.

2. Mechanism-based Clinical Trials

Clinical investigators with research interests in medical, radiation, and surgical oncology develop, prioritize, and perform collaborative translational investigator-initiated early phase clinical trials (IITs), and also influence and lead national trials sponsored by the National Clinical Trials Network, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and industry.

Fox Chase clinical investigators led paradigm-shifting studies that resulted in FDA approval of new treatments. MT members also focus on optimizing multimodal therapies, classical chemotherapeutics, radiation therapy, and on integrating immune checkpoint inhibitors with these agents and modalities.

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