The human protein “interactome” may involve ~130,000 to ~650,000 protein-protein interactions (PPIs). The mutations that lead to cancer often perturb PPIs and as a consequence change signal transduction pathways that regulate cell growth, death, control of genetic stability, interaction between cells, etc . Currently, a critical unmet need is the availability of real time assays that directly measure PPIs in living cells. Such an assay would enable the consequences of cancer associated mutations to perturb specific PPIs, and to evaluate their consequences on diverse biologic processes relevant to cancer and other diseases.
Mammary Gland Development in Breast Cancer
Parallels between embryogenesis and cancer have been recognized for well over a century. However, the molecular basis for these similarities has remained obscure. Our group has been working to unravel the specific molecular regulatory networks that govern early tissue development and stem cell control in order to identify pathways co-opted in the development, perpetuation and progression of cancer. Understanding these networks promises new avenues for individualized molecular therapies, including the ability to target potentially rare cells within heterogeneous tumor that may act as essential stem cells for the tumor tissue.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarninoma (PDA) is one of the most aggressive human cancers with a median survival of 6 months after diagnosis. Most patients present with locally advanced or metastatic disease and the current standard of care produces only modest survival benefit.