Kleer Lab

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Kleer Lab Research

Breast cancer has killed millions of women and continues to be responsible for over 44,000 deaths each year in this country. Morphology and current prognosticators do not allow accurate prediction of progression and metastasis, indicating that some breast cancers, despite grade and size at diagnosis, have the ability to invade and metastasize early in their development, unbeknownst to both patient and clinician. Our laboratory focuses on discovering better ways of identifying breast cancers with propensity to metastasize. To this end, we are devoted to understanding major mechanisms of breast cancer initiation and progression and in translating them into clinical utility. We are working towards identifying small aggressive tumors to better treat them, bringing us closer to a cure. Our laboratory discovered two key events associated with metastasizing breast cancers: overepression of EZH2 and down-regulation of CCN6 (WISP3). The mechanism by which these alterations promote breast cancer growth and metastasis, and their utility as novel tissue biomarkers of prognosis constitute the foundation of our laboratory projects.
 


Current Research Projects:

  • EZH2 as a prognostic biomarker in breast cancer tissues
  • Mouse models to elucidate the roles of EZH2 and CCN6/WISP3 in breast development and carcinogenesis.
  • EZH2 in DNA repair pathways and cell cycle regulation
  • CCN6/WISP3 in the control of epithelial to mesenchymal transition
  • CCN6/WISP3’s role in metastasis
  • Biomarkers of increased breast cancer risk applied to benign breast biopsies
  • Stem cells in breast cancer initiation
  • Development of novel tissue-based techniques