* Cancer Biology and Cell Signaling
* Molecular mechanisms of tumor invasion and metastasis
* Prostate cancer development and progression
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Tumor cell growth and migration begin with the secretion of proteolytic enzymes that degrade the extracellular matrix (ECM) followed by an invasion of the tumor vasculature leading to initiation of metastasis. Matrix Metalloproteases (MMPs) and their endogenous inhibitors (TIMPs) are key components of extracellular proteolysis and regulators of the tumor microenvironment (TME). Identification of ways to inhibit early matrix proteolysis would enhance our ability to target early tumor development and prevent metastatic potential. Studies have suggested that MMP/TIMP balance is shifted towards MMP activation during cancer progression.
Our laboratory investigates how MMPs and TIMPs are regulated during oncogenesis, leading to decisive biological events including proteolysis and tumor cell migration. Current research is concentrated in two areas: (1) Post-translational regulation of the MMP endogenous inhibitors, TIMPs and in particular TIMP-2, and how this regulation contributes to TIMP-2 anti-tumoral and anti-angiogenic properties. (2) Identification of novel therapeutic targets for prostate cancer (PCa), via elucidation of how cell secreted protein networks, including MMPs, TIMPs, matrix glycoproteins, promote tumor progression.