Wicha Lab: Experimental Breast Cancer Research


About Dr. Wicha's Laboratory

The Wicha laboratory is a leader in Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) biology. According to the ISI Citation Index, Dr. Wicha is among the most highly-cited investigators in the field of CSCs. His group was part of the team that first identified breast CSCs. Dr. Wicha’s laboratory identified a number of stem cell markers and developed in vitro and in vivo models to isolate and characterize these cells. These research models and resources have been widely adopted by other investigators. His laboratory subsequently elucidated a number of intrinsic and extrinsic pathways which regulate self-renewal and cell fate decisions in CSCs. Recently, the Wicha laboratory has focused on translating his pre-clinical research findings into the development of clinical trials designed to target breast CSCs.

Mission statement

Our research mission is the conquest of cancer through innovation and collaboration. We seek to accomplish this by creating a stimulating, collaborative research environment where M.D.’s and Ph.D.’s, medical and post-doctoral research fellows and clinicians, graduate students and undergraduates alike can come together to conceive, inspire and drive scientific innovation.  Through our integrated, multi-disciplinary approach we will establish the University of Michigan as the international leader in cancer stem cell research and resulting targeted therapies.

More information about the history of the Wicha Lab is available here.

Latest from the lab

Congratulations to Dr. Korkaya, Dr. Wicha and co-authors G. Kim, M. Ouzounova, A.A. Quraishi, A. Davis, N. Tawakkol, S.G. Clouthier, F. Malik, A.K. Paulson, R.C. D'Angelo, S. Korkaya, T.L. Baker, E.S. Esen, A. Prat, S. Liu, C.G. Kleer, and D.G. Thomas on their latest paper, "SOCS3-mediated regulation of inflammatory cytokines in PTEN and p53 inactivated triple negative breast cancer model." In this paper, published in Oncogene, the authors present their finding that a particular protein that fuels inflammation, SOCS3, does not turn off in breast cancer, resulting in increased cancer stem cells. This novel finding provides a potential new target for treating aggressive triple negative breast cancer. Dr. Korkaya suspects inflammatory pathways regulate other cancers as well. Drugs used to inhibit inflammatory pathway molecules are already approved for treatment of other diseases, which should facilitate their use in cancer treatment. More laboratory testing is presently underway with the hope of soon establishing a clinical trial.