Two Shipley Prostate Cancer Pilot Grant Awardees Announced

Christopher Heaphy, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine/Hematology & Medical Oncology:

Current prognostic factors may not accurately predict outcomes for some men surgically treated for prostate cancer. Additional tissue-based biomarkers may improve personalized treatment strategies. Dr. Heaphy will investigate two promising biomarkers: telomere length alterations and nuclear lamin dysfunction. In preliminary studies, both biomarker levels show promise in predicting which patients will ultimately develop metastatic disease, thereby helping to oncologists to optimize the treatment plan. In collaboration with Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, these biomarkers will now be evaluated in BMC’s diverse patient population.

Joshua Campbell, PhD, Assistant Professor Medicine/Computational Biomedicine, Gerald Denis, PhD, Professor of Medicine/Hematology & Medical Oncology, and Andrew Emili, PhD, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry:

Protein-protein interactions (PPIs), which constitute an essential step in cell biology that, when disrupted, can cause profound functional abnormalities, are important to understand. Drs. Campbell and Denis will work with Pathology & Laboratory Medicine to grow organoid cultures from prostatectomy derived from patients with low- and high-grade disease. Specific subpopulations of epithelial cells will be sorted using flow cytometry and then profiled with mass spectrometry using Dr. Emili’s precision facilities of the BU Center for Network Systems Biology to identify differences in protein abundance or connectivity in protein interaction networks between grades in each cell type. Overall these data will identify key cofactors for aggressive disease.