Claudia Capparelli, PhD
Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson University
University of Calabria, Italy, PhD, Cell Biochemistry and Drug Activity in Oncology
University of Calabria, Italy, B.S. and M.S., Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology
Dr. Capparelli studies focused on mechanism that drive resistance to MEK inhibitors in WT BRAF/ WT NRAS (WT/WT) melanoma. She demonstrated that MEK inhibitors induce adaptive activation of ErbB3/ErbB2 pathways in the presence of stromal-derived neuregulin, the ligand for ErbB3. Furthermore, she showed that clinical grade ErbB3 and ErbB2 antibodies maximize the therapeutic effects of MEK inhibitors in WT/WT and BRAF inhibitors in BRAF mutant melanoma. Her studies led to the initiation of a clinical trial NCT03580382, which will evaluate the efficacy of the human monoclonal ErbB3 targeting antibody CDX-3379, in combination with the MEKi, trametinib, in patients with advanced stage BRAF wild-type (WT) melanoma. In collaboration with Dr. Wilson, the medical oncologist leading this clinical trial, she is investigating the outcome and potential resistance to MEKi and ErbB3 targeting agent combination. Her current studies focus on the role of SOX10 in resistance to MEKi and intra-tumoral heterogeneity and cellular plasticity which allow tumors to adapt to foreign microenvironments and therapeutic insults.