MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Lee M. Ellis

Dr. Lee M.  Ellis

Associate Member

Professor

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Surgical Oncology

The overall goal of our laboratory is to investigate mechanisms of tumor growth, metastasis, and resistance to therapies, in gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies with a focus on colorectal cancer. 

For over 2 decades, our laboratory has investigated the role of VEGF in tumor growth, metastasis and angiogenesis. We have recently focused our efforts on determining the role of VEGF signaling on and in tumor cells. Investigations in these areas may help elucidate mechanisms of action of anti-VEGF therapy, and help develop new therapeutic approaches. A major focus of the laboratory is to elucidate the complex cross-talk of endothelial cells and tumors cells, and how this influences chemoresistance in the tumor microenvironment. We recently showed that endothelial cells secrete angiocrine factors the mediate the stem-ness of nearby colon cancer cells (Cancer Cell 2013). 

Continuing along our translational themes, we are studying mechanisms of resistance to standard chemotherapy for colon cancer. We have established a series of chemotherapy resistant colon cancer lines. Initial investigations demonstrated that oxaliplatin resistant colon cancer cells led to epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the cancer stem cell phenotype. Although targeted therapies for GI malignancies has demonstrated promise in clinical trials, we strongly believe that it is important to validate new targets for the next generation of anti-neoplastic regimens. Continuing along our translational themes, we are studying mechanisms of resistance to standard chemotherapy for colon cancer. We have established chemotherapy resistant colon cancer and gastric cancer cell lines. Initial investigations demonstrated that oxaliplatin resistant colon cancer cells led to epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the cancer stem cell phenotype. We are now collaborating with John Zhang, adjunct appointment, Department of Cancer Biology, to understand metabolic alterations that occur in chemoresistant cell lines. Similarly, with the input of George Calin, we are studying miRNA alterations in chemoresistant cell lines.  Although targeted therapies for GI malignancies has demonstrated promise in clinical trials, we strongly believe that it is important to validate new targets for the next generation of anti-neoplastic regimens.

PubMed

MDACC Faculty

Contact Information

Phone: 713.792.6926

Email: lellis@mdanderson.org

Office: MDA FCT17.5062 (Unit 1484)

Education:

M.D. - University of Virginia School of Medicine - 1983

Programs: