Laboratory of skin cancer research
Principal Investigators: Dr. Emily Avitan-Hersh
The focus of the lab is to unveil critical signaling pathways in Squamous cell carcinoma and the cutaneous T cell lymphoma mycosis fungoides.
Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Molecular mechanisms that control MF are still obscure. An optional mechanism involves the ubiquitin-proteasome system, that plays a central regulatory role in protein homeostasis and cell viability, thus may directly affect T cell survival.
The aim of our study is to unveil ubiquitin enzymes that are crucial for T cell survival and to characterize their biological significance. We aim to detect ubiquitin specific pathways and ubiquitin ligases that are critical for MF viability. We study the impact of certain biological drugs on MF progression and pathogenesis. Finally, we validate our results on patient samples to study the clinical correlations and significance of our findings.
Another focus of the lab is Squamous cell carcinoma, which is the second most common of all cancers. The prognosis of patients with advanced cutaneous SCC is grim and the molecular pathways are yet unsolved. Recently, immunotherapy became the treatment of choice for patients with advanced or metastatic SCC, but response rates are 30-50%. Additionally, there are no predictive or prognostic factors for non-responsiveness. We study central immune pathways in SCC compared to normal keratinocytes, suggesting an important role in inhibiting SCC tumorigenesis. Additionally, we study mechanisms of response/resistance to immunotherapy and will explore novel biomarkers for response.
Meet the Avitan Lab Team>