Associate Professor, Eppley Institute
Tel: 402-559-5558 (Office)
Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets of colon cancer metastasis and drug resistance
Summary of Research
Metastasis is the cause of 90 percent of deaths from colon 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 colon 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 drug resistance will provide important information necessary for the development of new drugs and efficient therapeutic strategies.
The research in the Wang laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of colon cancer metastasis and drug resistance and identification and validation of novel targets associated with cell survival, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis using cell culture and mouse models. The long-term goal is to develop effective therapies to treat advanced colon cancer patients. The ongoing research projects include:
- Identify and validate new therapeutic targets associated with metastasis and drug resistance;
- Develop combination therapies to treat advanced colon cancer or to overcome drug resistance;
- Investigate the role of microRNAs, a special category of oncogenes or tumor suppressors, in cancer metastasis and drug resistance 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 interaction between microenvironment and tumor cells and its effect on colon cancer development, progression and treatment.