Research in Systems Biology
The underlying principle of the Section of Molecular Therapeutics is that targeting the underlying defects and, particularly, signal transduction pathways in cancer cells will result in effective non-toxic molecular therapeutics which will improve the outcome in cancer patients. The recently recruited Dr. Francois-Xavier Claret and his visiting scientist, Dr. Rajasekhar Vinagolu, are investigating the role of JAB1 and phosphorylation of steroid receptors in tumorigenesis and in sensitivity/resistance to chemotherapy. Drs. Hong-Ji Xu, Lei Jiang and Jian-Ping Wang are applying the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene to gene therapy, evaluating its mechanism of action and have initiated studies aimed at identifying new tumor suppressor genes. These studies are currently in clinical trials using a truncated retinoblastoma gene in bladder cancer.
Cellular and Molecular Growth Regulation
The premise of the Section of Cellular and Molecular Growth Regulation, consisting of Drs. Jordan Gutterman and Valsala Haridas, is that plants have evolved to manufacture a wide variety of secondary metabolites that act as deterrents for dangerous predators. Many of the target pathways of these plant metabolites have been preserved in evolution from yeast to Drosophila to man and may be important constituents of the malignant phenotype.