Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly lethal brain tumors. Our research focuses on the signaling pathways that regulate the properties of GBM stem cells (GSCs) and neural stem cells (NSCs). Our goal is to identify GSC-specific targets and develop novel therapeutic strategies targeting GSCs to improve GBM treatment. We are working on three major areas:
Molecular targeting of GBM stem cells: Our previous studies have demonstrated that GSCs contribute to therapeutic resistance and promote tumor angiogenesis and cancer invasion, suggesting that targeting GSCs may improve GBM treatment. We have identified several GSC-specific druggable targets. We are validating these functional targets to develop new therapeutic approaches against GBMs.
Ubiquitination/deubiquitination of stem-cell transcription factors: We have identified two critical deubiquitinases that stabilize key stem cell transcription factors to promote the maintenance of NSCs and GSCs. We are defining the ubiquitination and deubiquitination pathways involved in the maintenance and differentiation of GSCs and NSCs.
Molecular signaling associated with GSC-mediated cancer invasion: The hallmark of GBMs is their highly infiltrative property. We found that GSCs are much more invasive than non-stem cancer cells. We are studying the signaling cascade underlying the enhanced invasive capacity of GSCs. Our aim is to target the invasion-associated signaling cascade to inhibit GSC-mediated cancer invasion.