Melanoma progression and resistance to therapy
Malignant melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer because of its highly invasive and metastatic potential. It is also considered to be a chemotherapy-refractory tumor and the commonly used anticancer drugs do not seem to modify the prognosis of metastatic disease. My goal is to understand the mechanisms involved in melanoma chemoresistance and to develop methods to reverse the resistance of melanoma to therapy.
Survivin and melanoma
Survivin is a unique family member of the inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAP). It is abundantly expressed in transformed cell lines and in all the most common human cancers including melanomas, but is undetectable in terminally differentiated adult tissues. Its expression is highly associated with unfavorable prognosis in patients with neuroblastoma, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, and bladder cancers. My goal is to determine the mechanisms through which survivin functions in melanoma and whether survivin expression is associated with progression of melanoma.