The original identification and linkage of tyrosine kinases to the development of malignant disease opened an entire new field in oncology. Continued proof of the importance and growing interest in tyrosine kinases in cancer continues unabated, as the successful therapeutic targeting of several tyrosine kinases in the clinic continues to expand both the discipline and the pharmaceutical industry. The complete sequencing of the human genome identified additional tyrosine kinases, many of which are still being characterized. The advent of high throughput sequencing and rapid genomic mapping have further advanced the importance of tyrosine kinases and their effectors in developmental, immunological, and degenerative diseases and spawned therapeutic development in these disciplines. This field defines the current and future state-of-the-art of targeted therapies and personalized medicine in cancer and is rapidly expanding to other areas. The challenges facing the field today are to improve our knowledge to develop better therapeutic strategies, to better understand what goes wrong when a therapy doesn't work, and bridge the gap between the scientists and the clinic. Support and retention of new young investigators in the field is of paramount importance for filling the gaps and over- coming these challenges. There are three specific objectives of the FASEB 2012 Tyrosine Kinase Signaling in Cancer, Development, and Disease Conference. The first objective is to disseminate and synthesize the most up-to-date knowledge and newest technologies surrounding tyrosine kinases, as it relates to structure, regulation, signaling mechanisms, impact on normal and cancer biology, and drug targeting. The goal is to under- stand how their mutation or aberrant expression leads to disease. This will be accomplished through keynote and plenary speakers, short presentations based on selected abstracts, question and answer sessions, poster sessions, and informal discussion. The second objective is to enhance interactions that promote collaboration and translational research to help bring new therapies to the clinic. The goal is to build the bridges between scientists and the technologies that are needed to lead to better therapeutics. This will be accomplished by, hosting an industry-sponsored workshop emphasizing translation. The third objective is to invest intellectually and financially in the future by supporting promising young trainees. The goal is to encourage trainees to be successful and stay in the field by providing intellectual support through discussions with senior scientists, poster sessions, opportunities to speak, awards that recognize their achievements, and by providing financial support with competitive travel awards. The expected outcomes are increased collaborations, retention of young scientists in the field, identification of new developmental processes and diseases linked to tyrosine kinase signaling, and exploration of new avenues and approaches for identifying and developing therapeutic tar- gets and strategies to combat cancer, developmental deficiencies, and other diseases. 1) continue the in-depth structural, functional, and mechanistic characterization of tyrosine kinases, their regulators, and downstream effectors, 2) understand how their mutation or aberrant expression leads to disease, 3) present the successes and controversies associated with therapeutic targeting of these molecules, 4) build the bridges between scientists and the technologies that are needed to lead to better therapeutics, and 5) support and encourage trainees to be successful and stay in the field.
This application requests funding to provide partial support of a conference focused on the roles of tyrosine kinases in normal biology and cancer. Tyrosine kinases are frequently abnormal in cancer cells and are the fundamental basis for the recent development of targeted-therapies and personalized medicine in cancer treatment. Participants at this conference will be exposed to the challenges and barriers of tyrosine kinase-based therapeutics, be provided with ideas on how to address them, and be encouraged to incorporate these ideas into their future research programs. Only through this kind of intense immersion and focus, that is characteristic of small conferences such as this one, can we hope to be successful at breaking down the barriers that prevent a 100% success rate for curing cancer and alleviating patient suffering.