The molecular hepatology laboratory of Tushar C. Patel, M.B., Ch.B., studies the fundamental mechanisms that modulate how genes involved in tumor behavior are expressed. In particular, the laboratory investigates the role of noncoding RNA, such as microRNA and long noncoding RNA, in these processes.
Areas of ongoing research include the role of specific noncoding RNA in the pathogenesis and behavior of liver and biliary tract cancers and the relationship of these RNA genes to cell signaling processes involved in tumor cell behavior.
Dr. Patel's laboratory, which recently identified and cloned novel long noncoding RNA genes involved in liver cancers, was the first to identify a role for microRNAs in the regulation of cholangiocarcinoma growth and response to chemotherapy (Meng F, et al. Involvement of human micro-RNA in growth and response to chemotherapy in human cholangiocarcinoma cell lines. Gastroenterology. 2006;130:2113.) The laboratory is evaluating how these discoveries might be used to improve the treatment of these cancers.