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Cancer Metastasis

Dr. Kenneth Pienta, M.D.

Our laboratory is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on understanding the biology of prostate cancer metastasis. To this end we have isolated a human bone marrow endothelial cell line and demonstrated that prostate cancer cells preferentially adhere to these cells (Lehr JE, Pienta KJ: JNCI 90:118-123, 1998). We are now attempting to isolate the factors that mediate this preferential adhesion, and identify the cell adhesion molecules involved. We believe that this could lead to the development of anti-metastasis strategies in halting prostate cancer progression. The second part of the laboratory is focused on developing new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer including gene, radiation and chemotherapy. We are currently investigating whether androgen independent cell lines can be induced to re-express androgen receptor through blocking NF-kB activation. In addition, we are investigating how various chemotherapy agents, particularly docetaxel combinations, induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Third, we are exploring the inhibitory effects of radiation on the tumor bed, specifically endothelium. To better evaluate new therapies we are currently developing a human xenograft/cell line panel to perform in vivo testing, and have developed a cell-cycle screen to predict drug synergy.

Urologic Oncology Research Initiative