The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Institute of Molecular Medicine - Center for Translational Cancer Research
We are focused on identifying new targets for therapeutic development and investigating their function and signaling mechanisms in cancer. One of the targets our lab is studying is Leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled Receptor 5 (LGR5) which is highly expressed in colon cancer and cancer stem cells (CSCs). Recently, it has been shown that LGR5-positive colon CSCs are capable of driving tumor growth and metastasis. However, the actual function and mechanism of LGR5 in colon CSCs is still relatively unknown. Our laboratory is currently working to elucidate the role of LGR5 in the control of tumor growth, metastasis, and drug resistance using colon cancer cell lines and patient-derived tumor models. Furthermore, we are developing innovative therapeutics called antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) that target and destroy tumors and CSCs, similar to guided missiles. ADCs are comprised of a highly specific monoclonal antibody attached to a cytotoxic chemical “warhead” that is only released once the ADC binds and enters target tumor cells. We generated LGR5-targeted ADCs and showed they could destroy colon cancer cells and tumors in mice. Currently, we are taking novel approaches to modify and improve our LGR5-targeting ADCs in order to more effectively treat cancer. Our lab is also characterizing new cancer targets for future generation of innovative therapeutics.
A tutorial in my laboratory would involve studying LGR5 signaling in colon cancer or characterizing novel therapeutics. Techniques used in include cloning, antibody production and purification, western blot, cell-based binding and reporter assays, immunocytochemistry, gene expression knockdown, xenograft tumor models.
Education & Training
PhD, MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School, 2008