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Galoian Lab

Musculoskeletal oncology sarcoma signal transduction

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Investigator / Contact Person Karina Galoian

Research

Sarcomas remain to be very dangerous, challenging tumors in oncology. Chondrosarcomas, the cartilage cancer tumors are particularly refractory to chemotherapy and radiation. In order to investigate potential novel therapies, more must be understood about the cellular mechanisms driving chondrosarcoma proliferation and metastasis. PRP-1 neuropeptide has previously shown by Dr. Galoian to have significant potential as a novel therapy for chondrosarcoma as a cytostatic, antiproliferative and tumor suppressive agent, leading to 90% inhibition of sarcoma growth and even triple negative breast cancer cells. Interestingly, PRP-1 was proven for the first time by the team to be the ligand of innate immunity pattern recognition Toll-like receptors1/2 and 6. The injured cells cancerous cells have the ability to release danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and contribute to the activation of the innate immune system. This neuropeptide has the ability to upregulate most of the tumor suppressors, depending on the pathway they are involved in and downregulate embryonic stem cell factors such as Nanog, polycomb protein Bmi-1, c Myc. The resilience to chemotherapy and radiation of these tumors is a property bestowed by self-renewing and stroma-perpetuating cancer stem cells (CSC). Lack of dependable treatment and poor prognosis warrants the search for novel therapies as critical. Most recently Dr. Galoians team demonstrated the mechanism of such inhibition via drastic decrease. Almost elimination of cancer stem cells and sarcosphere formation. Currently, Dr. Galoian’s laboratory is focused on understanding the epigenetic mechanisms underlying such effect while targeting and eliminating the cancer stem cells, responsible for tumor growth renewal and drug resistance; this peptide also targets the bulk of tumor cells by slowing down cell cycle. Unlike many toxic chemotherapies, PRP-1 is a natural compound with immunomodulatory properties. Her laboratory is also involved in search of potential biomarkers for disease prognosis and early detection. For the past years, Dr. Galoian is mentoring medical students of the University of Miami, who are determined to dedicate their careers to orthopedic surgery and cancer research.  Many new manuscripts have been published with their active participation, leading to their research distinction awards and residency in orthopedics.