Areas of Research
- Breast Cancer Research
- Pancreatic Cancer Research
- Microbiome Research
- Fibrosis Research
- Molecular Biology Research
Welcome to the Hwang Laboratory. Our lab focuses on pancreatic and breast cancer research.
Pancreatic cancer research
One recent research project concerns pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), an aggressive form of the disease. Researchers have found Dickkopf-3 (DKK3) produced by pancreatic stellate cells in most of human PDAC.
Through NF-kB activation via both autocrine and paracrine mechanisms, DKK3 stimulates PDAC growth, metastasis, and resistance to chemotherapy.
In an autochthonous model of PDAC, genetic ablation of DKK3 inhibited tumor growth induced a peritumoral infiltration of CD8+ T cells and more than doubled survival.
Treatment with a DKK3 blocking monoclonal antibody inhibited PDAC progression, resistance to chemotherapy, and prolonged survival.
The combination of DKK3 inhibition with immune checkpoint inhibition was more effective in reducing tumor growth than either treatment alone and resulted in better survival. This suggests that DKK3 neutralization may be effective as a single targeted agent or in combination with chemo- or immunotherapy for PDAC.
Breast cancer research
Dr. Hwang and her team are currently investigating stromal cells in breast cancer to learn if similar principles are at work within the cellular processes involved with that disease.