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The one hundred honoree: Ryan Corcoran, MD, PhD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Ryan Corcoran, MD, PhD

Mass General Giving

Ryan Corcoran, MD, PhD, analyzes the molecular behavior of the cells inside gastrointestinal cancers to better understand how to block their reproduction. He and his team also seek out biomarkers that help to identify patients most likely to respond to a targeted therapy.

These microscopic observations inform the Corcoran Laboratory’s highly translational approach. The laboratory focuses on targeted therapies that inhibit signaling pathways activated by the specific mutations that drive individual tumors. Since cancer cells often become resistant to targeted therapies, the team works to identify the cells’ key resistance signals in order to devise novel therapy combinations that anticipate and overcome these resistance mechanisms. These therapeutic strategies are then evaluated in clinical trials.

The laboratory’s success has led to Dr. Corcoran’s recent appointment as translational research director for the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at the Mass General Cancer Center. In this capacity, he will formulate the center’s academic agenda and design its research portfolio.

“Ryan found his way into oncology as a self-described, ‘problem-solver,'” says David Ryan, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology and clinical director of the Mass General Cancer Center. “He enjoys the challenges associated with complex problems. Working hand and hand with our medical oncologists, Ryan has made significant discoveries that have been immediately translated to some of our sickest patients.”