Metastatic brain cancer is the most common type of brain cancer in adults. Despite advances in medical and surgical therapy, the rate of brain metastases is steadily increasing. Once the disease has spread to the brain, the prognoses is worse for patients.
The most common primary sources of metastatic brain cancer are lung and breast cancer. The reason why some patients develop metastatic brain cancer and others do not is unclear. It is also poorly understood which cells are able to metastasize to the brain.
The purpose of the ongoing research in Dr. Chaichana's lab is to:
- Identify and isolate cells that have the ability to metastasize from their primary site to the brain
- Characterize the molecular changes that allow cells to bypass the blood-brain barrier
- Determine how to stop these metastasized cells from entering the brain
- Study the use of cellular-based therapies, including stem cells, to fight metastatic brain cancer
To perform these studies, the Chaichana lab uses the most advanced tools and techniques in genetic and molecular analyses, microscopy, biomedical engineering and surgical therapy. This includes microfluidic devices, bioluminescent imaging, RNAseq, and proteomics, among others.