The research interests of Steven M. Offer, Ph.D., focus on colorectal cancer initiation and progression. Dr. Offer's laboratory utilizes a diverse array of cutting-edge biochemical, molecular, cellular, genetic, pharmacological and clinical methods to identify and characterize the changes that occur within cells to drive tumorigenesis and cancer metastasis. The overall goal of Dr. Offer's research is to provide diagnostic tools to better individualize patient care, and also to identify targetable pathways for further anti-cancer drug development.
- Epigenetic contributions to tumor progression. Dr. Offer is characterizing how epigenetic changes can promote tumor progression and metastasis using high-throughput sequencing technologies and novel strategies to alter the epigenetic state at specific locations in the genome using CRISPR-based technologies.
- Noncoding RNAs in colorectal cancer. Dr. Offer is working to establish how noncoding RNAs, such as microRNAs and lncRNAs, contribute to colorectal cancer tumorigenesis and progression using high-throughput sequencing and focused basic science approaches.
- Drug resistance to cancer therapeutics. Dr. Offer is interested in identifying genetic and epigenetic changes that cause tumor cells to become more resistant to anti-cancer therapies.
- Adverse toxicity to anti-cancer drugs. An additional area of interest for Dr. Offer is to identify methods to accurately predict which individuals are at high risk of developing severe adverse side effects to anti-cancer treatments.
Significance to patient care
As the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, colorectal cancer represents a significant public health concern. Dr. Offer's ultimate goal is to identify pathways that can be targeted by cancer therapeutics to better manage colorectal cancer and prevent tumor progression. Dr. Offer hopes that improved treatment options will not only improve treatment response rates but also improve the quality of life for cancer patients by minimizing adverse drug-related toxicities.