One of the research focuses in my laboratory is the identification of factors underlying the hormonal responsiveness of human cancers and to determine how to inhibit growth of hormone responsive cancers. We have broadened our efforts to the identification of factors in breast and prostate cancer critical in the transition to hormone-independence, resistance to cancer therapeutics, and ability to metastasize.
Therapeutic Advances and Research Breakthroughs
We have identified a novel tumor suppressor, Hexamethylene-bis-acetamide-inducible protein 1 (HEXIM1), which play a critical role in hormone dependent breast and prostate cancer. We have generated animal models that support the role of HEXIM1 as a tumor suppressor and the inhibition of angiogenesis and metastasis. We have also defined the mechanistic basis for HEXIM1 regulation of mammary and prostate tumorigenesis/angiogenesis/metastasis. We are also involved in collaborative projects with investigators at CWRU to visualize and inhibit tumor growth/vascularization/metastasis and development of strategies to enhance delivery of therapeutic agents to tumors.
It has been proposed by other laboratories that breast tumor initiation is due to DNA damage attributable to a combination of estrogen metabolism and preexisting lesions. We have reported that a novel protein, hPMC2, and Estrogen Receptor beta inhibit estrogen-induced DNA damage and breast cell transformation. Based on this we are proposing that hPMC2 plays a role in the prevention of breast cancer. We also determined that hPMC2 plays a role in the response of cancer cells to cancer chemotherapeutic agents.
Finally we are also examining the role of HEXIM1 in the adult heart. Inducibly expressing HEXIM1 in the heart resulted in features associated with an "athlete's heart" but without prior exercise.
PI: Monica Montano, Ph.D.