Associate Professor, Eppley Institute
Tel: 402-559-5558 (Office)
Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets of cancer metastasis and chemoresistance
Summary of Research
Metastasis is the cause of 90 percent of deaths from cancer, and yet little is known about its underlying mechanisms. Therapies to effectively treat metastatic disease are scarce. Traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy are limited by their lack of specificity. Molecular targeting of oncogenic signaling molecules has the potential to be a more effective approach for cancer treatment than those presently available. However, it has so far had a very limited clinical impact. In addition, drug resistance is one of the main reasons of colon cancer recurrence and therapeutic options are very limited. Thus, there remains a need for the identification of potential drug targets and development of novel therapies to improve cancer treatment. Understanding the mechanisms of metastasis and chemoresistance will provide important information necessary for the development of new drugs and efficient therapeutic strategies. Metastatic cells acquire abnormal characteristics that facilitate their deadly behavior, including the ability to:
The research in my lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis and chemoresistance and identification and validation of novel targets associated with cell survival, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis. The ongoing research projects include:
- Identify and validate new targets associated with metastasis and drug resistance;
- Investigate the role of microRNAs, a special category of oncogenes or tumor suppressors, in cancer metastasis and drug resistance (using human cancer cells and in vivo mouse models) as well as their regulation by different signaling pathways;
- Investigate the role of cancer stem cells (or tumor initiating cells) in cancer metastasis and drug resistance.
- Investigate the crosstalk between LGR5, TGFβ and Wnt signaling pathways and their role in colon cancer.