Cancer is a complex disease in which key gene expression patterns regulating cell proliferation, differentiation, and cell death are altered in a normal cell to that of a dysregulated tumor cell capable of immortality. Thus, our overall goal is to understand molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis and tumor progression.
A better understanding of these molecular mechanisms, allows for molecularly targeted therapies. Therefore, our lab has genomically profiled human carcinomas to identify aberrant signaling pathways that potentially can be used for creating novel therapies.
For example, our lab has identified RhoB as a key modulator for drug response in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma for inhibiting growth and inducing cell death. Up-regulation of RhoB can then be used as a biomarker for response and these drugs can be combined with other chemotherapeutics that are dependent upon RhoB for synergistic effects.
In order to properly examine aberrant signaling pathways, such as TBR3/GATA3 in renal cell carcinoma, we must first create valid preclinical models that mimic the tumor of a patient. With these validated models, we can get a better understanding of how a tumor originates, survives and metastasizes.