The laboratory of Edward B. Leof, Ph.D., studies the role(s) of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) family members in organ fibrosis, glioblastoma and ovarian cancer. A variety of molecular, cell biological and genetic approaches are employed.
New approaches are clearly needed, as upward of 45 percent of all deaths in the developed world are attributed to some sort of chronic fibroproliferative disorder; the median progression-free and survival for glioblastoma with current chemoradiation is about seven and 15 months, respectively; and ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the U.S.
- TGF-β receptor trafficking in polarized epithelial cells. Role of cis-acting elements, trans-acting factors and the mammalian retromer complex.
- TGF-β signaling. This includes specifically targeting non-Smad and Smad3-dependent actions in lung fibrosis and glioblastoma progression; TGF-β family members as target-based ovarian cancer therapies; and determining the mechanism and significance of TGF-β receptor trafficking from the cell surface to the nucleus.
Significance to patient care
TGF-β family members regulate a wide variety of biological processes and play central roles in carcinogenesis and organ fibrosis. While Dr. Leof's studies address fundamental questions of discovery, tomorrow's medical advances are dependent upon today's discovery science.
For instance, previous work by Dr. Leof and his team in identifying and characterizing cell type-specific signaling pathways has been directly responsible for clinical trials in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, systemic sclerosis (i.e., scleroderma), and chronic graft versus host disease. Dr. Leof's group is extending this approach with the ultimate goal of changing the paradigm by which numerous diseases are treated.
- Multiple National Institutes of Health and international study sections, 2002-present
- External Advisory Board, Indiana University Cancer Center, 2004-2010
- External Advisory Board, Ponce School of Medicine (Puerto Rico)/Moffitt Cancer Center U56 and U54 awards, 2005-present
- MERIT Award, National Institutes of Health, 2009-present