Research & Projects
Our lab studies molecular genetics and signaling pathways during liver cancer growth to develop new therapies to treat liver cancer. We are studying multiple types of liver cancer, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), and hepatoblastoma (HB).
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- PI3K/Pten/AKT/mTOR signaling cascade in HCC and ICC pathogenesis
- Hippo and Notch signaling cascades in liver cancer development
- Metabolic pathways in hepatic carcinogenesis
Deregulated PI3K/Pten/AKT/mTOR pathway is frequently found in both HCC and ICC samples. We have established multiple murine tumor models with activated PIK3CA mutations, activated AKT or loss of Pten, leading to the activation of mTOR. Using mTOR inhibitors, we are studying the therapeutic potential of these inhibitors for the treatment of HCC and ICC.
Both Hippo and Notch signaling cascades are evolutionally conserved pathways and have played critical roles in development, regeneration, and carcinogenesis. Both pathways have been implicated in liver tumor development. We found that Notch is a key downstream effector of Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, and the two pathways regulate liver tumor cell differentiation status.
Aberrant metabolism is a hallmark of cancer. Our lab studies how glucose and fatty acid catabolism pathways are deregulated during liver tumor development and how these metabolic pathways contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis.