Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts General Hospital
Instructor in Medicine
Clinical Assistant in Medicine
Dr. Jessica Lin is medical oncologist and a translational and clinical investigator in the Thoracic Oncology Program and the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
With NFCR support, Dr. Lin collaborates with physician-scientist, Dr. Aaron Hata at Harvard on a project aimed to identify the major ‘drivers’ of resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with mutations in the ALK gene (called ALK positive or ALK+.) ALK+ patients eventually experience drug resistance to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line TKI therapies. Moreover, in ALK+-cancer cells, ALK-independent pathways can begin to signal abnormal growth.
Therefore, a significant challenge continues in the ability to match each patient with the therapy that is most likely to be effective.
The collaborative team of Lin and Hata are using an innovative and cutting-edge gene expression technology called ‘digital spatial profiling’ to identify the drivers of drug-resistance in ALK+ NSCLC. Combining powerful gene expression profiling with spatial resolution in the cell, digital spatial profiling analyzes approximately 1800 cancer-associated genes from multiple distinct regions in the biopsy sample. The technology also characterizes tumor cells, immune cells and fibroblasts in multiple regions of the tumor biopsy. Previously this type of detailed and systematic analysis was not feasible in standard biopsy samples.
Significantly, their research may develop and confirm the new method can optimally match the right therapy to each patient with advanced ALK+ lung cancer and at the time when resistance occurs.
Jessica J. Lin, M.D. is a Clinical Assistant of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Lin leads the clinical efforts focused on ALK-positive lung cancer at MGH and is principal- or co-investigator of other clinical trials conducted by the thoracic oncology and phase I groups. She leads the efforts to establish a database of serial biopsies, obtained from newly diagnosed patients with advanced lung cancer or are progressing on current treatments. The primary focus of her research is to understand the mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies using TKIs in oncogene-driven lung cancers, such as those harboring ALK, ROS1, or RET gene rearrangements. Her efforts are essential not only in informing novel drug development in order to overcome or prevent resistance, but also in guiding how clinicians might strategize the sequential administration of available therapy options for patients.
Dr. Lin obtained her M.D. at Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a Clinical Fellowship in Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.