Main Research Focus:
The lab focuses on translational cancer research using cytogenetics technology. Examples of scientific accomplishments in the laboratory are fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)–based assays developed for detection of chromosomal imbalance in interphase cells that detected sub-clinical tumorigenesis in head and neck and lung cancers. Aiming to better support molecular targeted therapies and efficiently identify patients likely to benefit from these therapies, Dr. Garcia's laboratory investigates genomic imbalances in metabolic pathways important in oncogenesis using FISH technology. Molecules addressed in these studies are HER-2/neu, EGFR and cyclin D1 (CCND1). The gene status and mechanisms controlling expression of these molecules have been investigated in prostate and ovarian adenocarcinomas, glioblastomas, squamous cell esophageal carcinomas, and NSCLC. Ongoing studies also address IGF1R, FGFR, MET, BRAF, and the gene fusions involving TMPRSS2 in prostate and ALK in NSCLC. Recently, the laboratory developed a FISH scoring system (EGFR-FISH) that identifies NSCLC patients more likely or unlikely to benefit from therapy with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors.