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The bony skeleton is one of the most common sites of metastatic spread of cancer and a significant source of morbidity in cancer patients, causing pain and pathological fracture, impaired ambulatory ability and poorer quality of life.
In our continuous investigation of the mechanism of metastasis in spine tumors and of developing animal models and treatments, our team seeks to understand how cancer cells metastasize to the bony spine.
Our laboratory develops novel techniques to evaluate our animal models of metastatic spine disease.
Systems Biology Laboratory
The Systems Biology Lab applies methods of multiscale modeling to problems of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and examines the systems biology of angiogenesis, breast cancer and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Using coordinated computational and experimental approaches, the lab studies the mechanisms of breast cancer tumor growth and metastasis to find ways to inhibit those processes.
We use bioinformatics to discover novel agents that affect angiogenesis and perform in vitro and in vivo experiments to test these predictions. In addition we study protein networks that determine processes of angiogenesis, arteriogenesis and inflammation in PAD. The lab also investigates drug repurposing for potential applications as stimulators of therapeutic angiogenesis, examines signal transduction pathways and builds 3D models of angiogenesis.
The lab has discovered over a hundred novel anti-angiogenic peptides, and has undertaken in vitro and in vivo studies testing their activity unde...r different conditions. We have investigated structure-activity relationship (SAR) doing point mutations and amino acid substitutions and constructed biomimetic peptides derived from their endogenous progenitors. They have demonstrated the efficacy of selected peptides in mouse models of breast, lung and brain cancers, and in age-related macular degeneration.
Dr. Bhujwalla’s lab promotes preclinical and clinical multimodal imaging applications to understand and effectively treat cancer. The lab’s work is dedicated to the applications of molecular imaging to understand cancer and the tumor environment. Significant research contributions include 1) developing ‘theranostic agents’ for image-guided targeting of cancer, including effective delivery of siRNA in combination with a prodrug enzyme 2) understanding the role of inflammation and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in cancer using molecular and functional imaging 3) developing noninvasive imaging techniques to detect COX-2 expressing in tumors 4) understanding the role of hypoxia and choline pathways to reduce the stem-like breast cancer cell burden in tumors 5) using molecular and functional imaging to understand the role of the tumor microenvironment including the extracellular matrix, hypoxia, vascularization, and choline phospholipid metabolism in prostate and breast cancer invasion and metast...asis, with the ultimate goal of preventing cancer metastasis and 6) molecular and functional imaging characterization of cancer-induced cachexia to understand the cachexia-cascade and identify novel targets in the treatment of this condition. view less