Eduardo Mendez, MD, MS, FACS

Assistant Member
Clinical Research Division

Education

Princeton University, 1994, BA
University of Maryland School of Medicine, 1999, MD
University of Washington, School of Public Heath, 2010, MS  

Research Focus

Currently, Dr. Méndez research focuses on markers of disease progression in head and neck cancer. Despite advances in surgery and chemotherapy, survival rates for oral cancer have not improved in the past two decades. Once the disease spreads in the body, survival rates drop. Dr. Méndez published the first study that has identified a “genetic signature” for poor survival rates in patients with oral cancer, and one that addresses how genetic signatures compliment clinical information in predicting survival. He is looking to discover which genes are related specifically to the spread of oral cancer to other parts of the body. He will compare the genetics of tumors that have not spread with those that have. Dr Méndez is interested in the genetics of tumor cells and the mechanisms that allow tumor cells to spread. His results may one day allow physicians to predict which tumors are more likely to spread, information that will, in turn, affect treatment decisions. He also hopes to identify genetic vulnerabilities common to metastatic cells that can be exploited therapeutically.

“I am interested in the treatment of head and neck cancer, reconstruction of head and neck cancer defects, and minimally invasive approaches to tumors of the upper aerodigestive tract and thyroid including robotic-assisted surgery and transoral laser microsurgery. I am also interested in the genetics of head and neck cancer, and lead efforts to find new targeted therapies to help achieve a cure."

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Mendez is an expert in the surgical treatment of head and neck cancers, including minimally invasive robotic surgery for tumors of the tongue and throat, microvascular reconstruction of the head and neck and thyroid cancers. He is an associate professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at University of Washington School of Medicine and an Assistant Member in the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Current Studies

U01  CA 176303-1  (P.I.:  Kemp, C.)   04/01/13 - 03/31/17     NCI        
An Integrated computational and functional genomics discovery engine for pre-clinically validated cancer drug targets

The goal of this proposal is to accelerate the discovery and preclinical validation of novel cancer drug targets, including sensitizers to existing standard of care (SOC) therapies, utilizing a platform that includes high throughput well-based siRNA and drug screening, genetically defined isogenic cell systems, patient derived cancer cell cultures, and patient derived xenografts.

Sub-Project:  01   (Project Leader: Mendez, E.)     
Functional genomics to discover novel therapeutic target discovery in head and neck cancer

The goal of this subproject is to identify novel survival pathways and druggable gene targets in p53 mutant head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) utilizing high-throuhput genome-wide siRNA and drug screens from patient-derived primary cultures and patient-derived xenografts.

FDN   RSG 13 0661 01 TBG   (P.I.:  Méndez, E.)   ACS        
Integrative Genomics Approach TherapeuticTarget Selection in Oral Cancer Metastasis

The purpose of this grant is to identify genes whose expression is associated with abnormal copy number which are unique to metastatic oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).  In addition, this study will determine which of these candidate genes have the highest association with OSCC survival and which have the highest effect on cell survival and tumor biology in in vitro models of OSCC metastasis.

P30  CA015704  (P.I.:  Corey, L.)  10/01/2012 - 09/30/2014  NIH/NCI Cancer Center Support Grant
Sub-Project: 01     (Project P.I.:  Méndez, E.)  
A phase I clinical trial of MK-1775 in combination with neoadjuvant weekly docetaxel and cisplatin prior to surgery in p53 mutated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) 
  
The purpose of this phase I trial is to evaluate the safety profile and determine a MTD dose of MK-1775 in combination with weekly cisplatin and docetaxel as a neoadjuvant approach in early stage to locally advanced resectable stage 1 to 3 (T1-3, N0-1) SCCHN.

P30 CA 15704-37 PILOT  (P.I.: Hartwell, L.)   01/01/09 - 12/31/14  NIH/NCI Cancer Center Support Grant

The goal of the Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium is the elimination of
cancer through more effective prevention, diagnostics, and treatment, deriving from fundamental
insights into the biology of the disease. New opportunities to reduce the suffering and mortality from
cancer are to be found in the interdisciplinary collaboration of scientists in basic, clinical and public
health sciences exploiting new information and technology. The Consortium faculty are organized into
16 productive research programs with the emphasis on the Public Health (Biostatistics, Epidemiology,
Prevention), Clinical (Transplantation Biology, Clinical Transplantation, Human Immunogenetics,
Immunology, Infectious Disease), Fundamental Sciences (Basic, Human Biology), and programs that
impact all three disciplines (Breast, Prostate, Gynecologic, Genetics, Imaging, and Genetic Instability).
During the next grant period the Consortium will seek to develop additional strength in three areas: 1) to
increase scientific collaboration and interactions afforded by the new consortium arrangement; 2) to
build on existing strengths in immunologic and molecular approaches to solid tumor diagnosis,
treatment and prevention; 3) the Consortium will be a leader in the application of molecular
approaches to population sciences.

Sub-Project: 9  (Project Leader: Méndez, E.)
Preclinical Validation of Survival Kinases as Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Drug
Targets

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth leading cancer worldwide and can
be a devastating disease. Radiation and chemotherapy have improved survival, but do not target
specific tumor biology and toxicities can be severe. This proposal addresses the need to discover
novel targeted therapies to improve specificity and diminish side-effects.

FDN HHMI 57006501  (P.I.: Méndez, E.)  08/01/08 - 07/31/14 HOWARD HUGHES
Physician-Scientist Early Career Award 2008

The purpose of this Physician-Scientist Early Career Award is to provide early career support to
selected HHMI medical, dental, and veterinary student research training program alumni as they begin
their transition to careers as independent physician-scientists. This support is intended to foster the
ability of the supported scientists to obtain grant support from other organizations.



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