The research interests of Paul Haluska Jr., M.D., Ph.D., focus on using in vivo lab-based models to develop individualized therapy for patients with ovarian cancer. His laboratory also conducts translational work targeting the insulinlike growth factor (IGF) system in breast cancer.
Dr. Haluska's lab has developed one of the largest existing collections of ovarian patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models, referred to as "avatars." Dr. Haluska's research team is using these models to understand which therapies work on individual patients or subgroups of patients with ovarian cancer. They are also using the avatars to direct therapy in patients with ovarian cancer based on the best response of therapies in each patient's own avatar.
The Haluska laboratory works to target the IGF-I pathway in breast cancer models. His group has demonstrated that blocking IGF signaling in breast cancer improves the response to hormonal therapy and may reverse resistance to hormonal therapy. The lab analyzes tumor and blood specimens from clinical trials led by Dr. Haluska to understand the changes in cancer following IGF system blockade and discover what biomarkers may be important for predicting benefit from this strategy.
- Development and use of PDX (avatar) models in ovarian cancer for individualizing therapy and improving clinical outcomes
- Novel therapy development in ovarian cancer using PDX (avatar) models
- The role of the insulinlike growth factor (IGF) system in cancer cell growth and resistance to anti-cancer therapies (hormonal, chemotherapy, targeted and the like)
- Clinical and translational studies of novel therapies for ovarian and breast cancers
Significance to patient care
Dr. Haluska's long-term research goal is to use a translational approach to develop and improve therapies in breast and ovarian cancers. The PDX (avatar) models provide a novel approach to understanding the best treatment for each patient, using her own tumor as a guide to the best individualized therapy.
- Co-director, Mayo Clinic Phase I program, 2014
- Track leader, gynecologic cancer, American Society of Clinical Oncology Scientific Program Committee, 2014
- Member, Investigational Drug Steering Committee, National Cancer Institute, 2014