My research interests are focused on genetic and epigenetic events driving cancer progression and metastasis. The goal is to identify therapeutic target (s) for treatment of patients with aggressive cancers such as High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer (HGS-OvCa) and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). Both cancer types have similar genetic drivers and are highly invasive and difficult to treat. The aggressive behavior of tumors is linked to the presence of substantial amounts of fibrotic material and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Pro-fibrotic TGFβ and pro-inflammatory TNFα and IL1β cytokines are elevated in these tumors and collaborate in promotion of tumor invasion and metastasis. Although these cytokines are attractive therapeutic targets, they also play important roles in normal human health and immune system.
The objective of my research is to define key pro-oncogenic drivers of these signal transduction pathways that are attainable for a selective therapeutic intervention with a minimal toxicity. Tumor invasion and bone metastasis are main areas of my research. The role of signal transducers is analyzed by means of RNA interference and CRISPR methodologies and system-biology approaches including microarrays of proteome, transcriptome and microRNAs. Cell-based assays and pre-clinical mouse models are used for assessment of the invasive and metastatic potentials. The pro-oncogenc molecular signatures are considered as markers of the therapeutic response and prognosis.