Catch up with 2019-2020 KACF Medical Oncology Fellow Tara O’Donohue

Dr. O’Donohue is currently a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at MSK Kids focusing on developmental therapeutics in relapsed and refractory childhood cancers. Cancers that occur in the pediatric population are a heterogeneous group of relatively uncommon malignancies with complex and understudied biologic characteristics, often resulting in a lack of effective therapeutic options. Tara currently works within the Pediatric Translational Medicine Program (PTMP) at MSK Kids which is comprised of a core group of basic, translational, and clinical researchers using state-of-the-art genomic profiling platforms to develop a portfolio of precision medicine-based therapies to improve outcomes for children and young adults with all types of cancer. Within the context of this role, she works closely with laboratory investigators in the Kung Lab to facilitate expeditious preclinical validation of novel therapies in pediatric models to inform rational clinical trial development.

Based on the results of their preclinical work evaluating a novel therapy, repotrectinib, a multi-kinase inhibitor with therapeutic potential in various pediatric sarcomas, neuroblastoma, lymphoma, and central nervous system malignancies, they have worked to develop two different clinical trials. An international, industry-sponsored, first in pediatrics phase 1/2 trial evaluating repotrectinib monotherapy in relapsed and refractory pediatric cancers is currently open and accruing. Furthermore, they have developed an investigator-initiated, single-institution phase 1/2 trial combining repotrectinib with chemotherapy in pediatric patients with relapsed and refractory solid tumors which will be opening to accrual imminently. Along with leading these two trials, my clinical practice focuses on treating patients with relapsed, refractory and rare, fusion-driven solid tumors, with a specific interest and expertise in early phase, genomically-targeted clinical trials.