Dr Timothy Yap is a NIHR BRC Clinician Scientist and Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Royal Marsden Hospital and The Institute of Cancer Research in London, UK. He is based in in the Drug Development and Lung Cancer Units, and Cancer Biomarkers Laboratory Group. His research includes the first-in-human development of molecularly targeted agents and their acceleration through clinical studies using novel predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers. Dr Yap is Principal Investigator for clinical trials evaluating novel strategies for targeting the DNA damage response in lung and other cancers, such as PARP inhibitors, as well as the blockade of signaling pathways, with a focus on PI3K/AKT inhibitors. He is Lead Investigator for the AZD5363 AKT inhibitor arm of the National Lung Matrix Trial. His laboratory interests include the development of tumours, plasma DNA and circulating tumour cells as predictive biomarkers in clinical trials. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Nature Reviews Cancer.


Technological advancements in the molecular characterization of cancers have enabled researchers to identify an increasing number of key molecular drivers of cancer progression. These discoveries have led to multiple novel anticancer therapeutics, and clinical benefit in selected patient populations. Despite this, the identification of clinically relevant predictive biomarkers of response continues to lag behind. In this presentation, strategies for the molecular characterization of cancers and the importance of biomarkers for the development of novel antitumor therapeutics are discussed. We also review critical successes and failures in oncology, as well as the lessons learnt, which may aid in the acceleration of anticancer drug development and biomarker discovery are reviewed.

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