Growth Control: Research Areas

Scientists in the Growth Control Research Program at the Perlmutter Cancer Center focus their investigations on the following areas:

Transcriptional regulation and cancer

  • Transcriptional machinery and epigenetic control of cell growth and differentiation
  • The role of signaling in transcriptional control and oncogenesis

Cell signaling and cell proliferation

  • Growth Factor Receptors
  • Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors
  • Cell Growth, Survival, and Death

 

Tools and Strategies

Early clinical anticancer drug development requires a basic understanding of how the drug behaves in the human body. Coupled with toxicity and activity trials in preclinical systems, this understanding sets the basis for the earliest development of novel therapies in patients. Our investigators pursue drug development and assessment using the following tools and strategies:

1.  Animal models: Once a gene that regulates cell proliferation is identified through laboratory-based research, the main goal of researchers is to determine whether this gene and other potential elements in that particular pathway are deregulated in cancer cells. Scientists use experimentally amenable animal model systems to mimic tumor development in humans. Animal models allow in vivo study of the role of particular genes in cancer development.

2.  Analysis of genetic alternations: Researchers determine whether these genes are mutated or abnormally expressed in human cancers. To achieve the latter goal, many investigators in this program employ in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry techniques, as well as microarray chip analysis using human tumor samples obtained from the NYU tumor tissue bank.

3.  Novel therapeutic strategies: The analysis of gene products by immunohistochemistry or genomic tools provides a potentially rapid and cost-effective prognostic test, and may ensure that adjuvant therapy is given to those patients who are most likely to benefit from it. Our investigators are validating the relevance of these analyses to design appropriate targeted therapies.

 

Collaborative Structural Studies

Growth Control researchers perform collaborative structural studies, providing invaluable tools for the analysis of cancer-relevant molecules, including in silico studies to identify small molecule binding pockets on the surface of three-dimensional protein structure models of newly identified therapeutic targets.