We use in vivo imaging models to interrogate the tumor microenvironment, examining communication mechanisms in cancer stem cells, currently focused on malignant brain tumors.
Dr. Justin Lathia leads a translational cancer stem cell research laboratory and is Vice Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences at the Lerner Research Institute, part of the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Lathia is also the Co-Director of the Brain Tumor Research and Therapeutic Development Center of Excellence. He is also the Reza Khatib MD Professor, Leader of the Brain Tumor Initiative, and Co-Leader of the Molecular Oncology Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Lathia is a native of central Pennsylvania and received a B.S. and M.S. from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA in 2003. While at Drexel, he developed targeted ultrasound contrast agents which preferentially bound to newly formed vessel in breast cancer models. After graduation from Drexel, Dr. Lathia completed his Ph.D. as part of the NIH-Cambridge Graduate Partnership Program. His work focused on the role of cell adhesion molecules during the development of the nervous system. After completing his Ph.D. in 2008 he completed post-doctoral fellowships at Duke and the Cleveland Clinic where he focused on the role of cell adhesion in regulating cancer stem cells in brain tumors. In 2012, Dr. Lathia moved to the Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences as an independent investigator and the work in his lab focuses on how the stem cell state is regulated in advanced cancers. Projects in the Lathia laboratory involve understanding how cancer stem cells interact with their surrounding microenvironment as well as one another with the goal of identifying unique pathways for therapeutic development. Work in the Lathia laboratory has resulted in a Phase 1 clinical trial aimed at targeting myeloid-derived suppressor cells that interact with cancer stem cells to suppress the immune system in glioblastoma.
Dr. Lathia has co-authored over 170 publications and work in his lab is currently supported by multiple National Institutes of Health grants and foundation grants. Dr. Lathia also contributes as a peer reviewer to over 140 journals, serves on the editorial board for Cell Reports, Cancer Research, and Neuro-Oncology, has served on multiple grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. He recently served as a co-editor for a cancer stem cell textbook. Dr. Lathia also serves as a co-organizer for the cancer stem cell meeting held in Cleveland in 2014, 2016, and 2018. At each meeting, the three-day event drew over 300 attendees from over 25 states and 15 countries.