1. Head of Laboratory: Leland W.K. Chung, PhD
2. Description of Lab: The major areas of research interests are: 1) Tumorstroma interactions and cancer growth and progression with focus on defining molecular and cellular components and mechanisms that dictate cancer progression and metastases; 2) Targeting cancer-stroma interphase for effective treatment of prostate cancer bone metastases; 3) Development of novel imaging and targeting drugs that differentially recognize cancer but not normal cells for efficient cancer targeting; and 4) Translation of laboratory developed novel concepts and drugs to the clinic for improved treatment of cancer metastases with particular emphasis on the prostate, bladder, renal and testicular cancers.
Bekir Cinar, PhD
Research interests: My research is focused on signal transduction and gene expression mechanisms in cancer. Currently, my laboratories research concentrate on two major areas: (i) defining the molecular basis of how growth factor/Pi3K-Akt-mTOR and androgen/AR signaling pathways cross-talk to regulate gene expression in prostate cancer cells and (ii) identifying molecular targets that act through cholesterol-rich membrane domains (lipid rafts) and regulate cell survival, differentiation, oncogenesis, and metastasis. Biochemical, molecular and cellular biology, genetic, genomics and proteomics approaches and imaging techniques, cell culture systems, and animal models will be the main tools used to address these problems.
Wen-Chin Huang, PhD
Research interests: The major areas of my research focus on signaling transduction, gene promoter study and molecular targeting in prostate cancer. We revealed a small protein, β2-microglobulin (β2M), is a signaling and growth-promoting factor (Huang et al., Cancer Res, 2006). β2M plays multiple biological roles in promoting cell growth, survival, progression, bone metastasis (osteomimicry) and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in prostate cancer cells. Targeting β2M and its related downstream signaling pathways using β2M siRNA and anti-β2M monoclonal antibody (β2M mAb) significantly inhibited prostate cancer growth and progression, and dramatically decreased expression of androgen receptor, which is a survival and nuclear transcription factor for prostate cancer, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA), in prostate cancer cells. Recently, we identified a β2M-regulated downstream factor, sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP-1), which is a lipogenic transcription factor controlling androgen receptor expression, fatty acid contents, cell growth and progression in prostate cancer cells. The current main researches are: 1) To explore the biological activity and anti-cancer efficacy of β2M mAb as a novel immunologic therapy in prostate cancers; 2) To investigate the roles of SREBP-1 in prostate cancer survival, progression and metastasis; 3) To determine the multiple biological functions of β2M in prostate cancer stem cells.
Sajni Josson, PhD
Research interests: The major focus of research is to elucidate the role of a pleotropic signaling protein, β2-microglobulin (β2M) in prostate cancer progression and bone metastasis. β2M signaling is involved in modulating oxygen and iron homeostasis in cancer cells and in promoting epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Bone metastasis is the major cause of death in prostate cancer patients. Current studies are focused on characterizing the role of microRNAs and redox proteins in this metastatic switch. Other areas of research investigation are: 1) Study the combined effects of anti-β2M antibody and ionizing radiation in blocking cancer growth in tumor xenografts; 2) Pursue mechanistic understanding of the effectiveness of the combination of anti-β2M antibody and radiation treatment in prostate cancer pre-clinical mouse models.
Haiyen E. Zhau, PhD
Research interests: 1) To elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying epithelial to mesenchymal transition in genitourinary tumors. 2) To develop novel cell signaling based prognostic technologies to predict human prostate cancer progression. 3) To explore the roles of racial-hormonaland developmental-regulated genes in prostate cancer growth, progression and metastases. 4) To search, validate and apply relevant biomarkers and their combinations in clinical specimens for the prediction of progression of genitourinary tumors.