Head and Neck Cancer

We have several open areas of research centered on head and neck cancer. Using unique model systems that we have developed, we are testing novel therapeutics. Using these models, we can model normal epithelia and cancer. We are using emerging genomic and proteomic technology to identify profiles within primary tumors that predict tumor behavior and are using proteomic techniques to identify potential biomarkers.

We are also exploring p53-dependent and p53-independent mechanisms of action of the tumor suppressor ARF. Recently, we have found a novel binding partner of ARF (LZAP) that can further enhance p53 function in the presence of ARR. LZAP has ability to regulate NF-kB without altering NF-kB localization. LZAP has tumor suppressor-like acitivity (inhibition of xenograft tumor formation, inhibition of invasion, and inhibition of soft agar cology formation) and we are further exploring its potential role in tumorigenesis.

We have recently began to explore molecular differences in head and neck cancer based on expression of the human papilloma virus (HPV). We are testing response of HPV(+) and HPV(-) head and neck cancers to targeted therapeutics.