The Cell Biology Program collaborates with numerous Mayo Clinic faculty researchers on four defined cancer research focus areas:
- Cell cycle and transcription control. Researchers in this focus area investigate the fundamental genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating the cell cycle and transcription control in normal, senescent and neoplastic cells.
- Cell signal and receptor trafficking. Researchers in this focus area investigate the mechanisms through which cell signaling pathways and receptor endocytic activity promote uncontrolled cell growth.
- Tumor microenvironment and angiogenesis. Researchers in this focus area study how the crosstalk between cancer cells and their microenvironment promotes cancer growth by regulating neo-angiogenesis, inflammation, immune evasion and fibrosis.
- Cell adhesion, migration and metastasis. Researchers in this focus area study how cells attach to substrates and to each other and how these attachments are altered as a cell initiates migration and invasion.
Cell cycle and transcription control
Research findings from Cell Biology Program investigators in this focus area include:
- Elimination of senescent cells delays the onset of naturally occurring tumors
- Demonstration of the existence of a ZEB1-PI3K axis in lung cancer metastasis
- Defining the extent to which certain pathogenic gene variants contribute to breast cancer risk
- Elucidating the role of cyclin A2 deficiency in genomic instability and tumorigenesis
Cell signaling and receptor trafficking
Researchers in this focus area have:
- Demonstrated that PKCι-mediated phosphorylation of Ect2 promotes lung adenocarcinoma progression via increased synthesis of rDNA
- Elucidated pathways involved in CXCR4 chemokine mitogenic and motogenic signaling
- Observed that patients with Her2-enriched breast cancer who benefit most from trastuzumab therapy have luminal-type tumors
- Outlined the critical role of PIPKIγ in progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
Tumor microenvironment and angiogenesis
Research findings in this focus area of the Cell Biology Program include:
- Observing that acinar cells harboring KRAS mutations cooperate with the inflammatory microenvironment to drive pancreatic cancer initiation
- Demonstrating that osteoblasts protect acute myeloid leukemia cells from apoptosis-inducing therapies
- Understanding the crucial role of HDAC3 in chondrocyte differentiation and endochondral bone formation
- Investigating cooperative action of PDGF and ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases in TGFβ-induced fibrosis
Cell adhesion, migration and metastasis
Research findings in this Cell Biology Program focus area include:
- The critical role of GAB2 amplification in neuroblastoma pathogenesis
- The role of Vav1 in pancreatic cell invasion and metastasis
- The crosstalk between cell-cell junctions and the RNAi machinery
- The role of FAK in antitumor immunity, cell growth and migration