Our commitment to research and discovery in areas such as heart failure and lung cancer, is best evidenced within our Cardiac Biomechanics, Cardiothoracic Translational Research, and Thoracic Oncology Laboratories. The cardiothoracic surgery division is proud to work with our industry partners as well as the National Institute for Health in seeking to translate clinical discoveries into the practice setting where such work is truly meaningful.
The lab uses the application of mechanical engineering principles in conjunction with cardiac biology, implementing this combination of research to the improvement of cardiac health, to the design and analysis of the diagnosis and/or treatment of cardiac diseases. Specialties of the Lab include:
* Development of Techniques for Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery
* Cardiovascular Monitor Design and Development
* Quantitative Cardiovascular Physiology
* Finite Element Analysis
* Signal Processing and Algorithm Design
The Cardiothoracic Translational Research Laboratory is focused on turning a deeper understanding of the complex biology of failing heart cells into a new generation of cellular and molecular therapies that may actually reverse the ravages of heart failure. This lethal condition affects more than 5 million Americans and is already the greatest single economic burden in American health care, yet no existing therapies can either halt or reverse the disease process. Dr. Mann's group is analyzing the molecular basis of the failing heart's response to non-embyonic stem cell transplantation, and these results will provide a framework for the first rational design of optimized strategies for human cardiac stem cell therapy.
The Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology (TSI) Laboratory uses multiple research directions to answer complex questions about stem cell therapy, heart and lung transplantation, and cardiovascular disease. The lab focuses on the immunogenicity of allogeneic stem cells, tissues, and organs, and is interested in designing methods to prevent immunological recognition and rejection of such materials.
Cancer treatment is rapidly proceeding towards the era of personalized medicine where treatment is based on the distinctive molecular characteristics of a patient's tumor. This knowledge will allow patients to receive novel combinations of therapies that will maximize clinical benefit, more accurately predict disease outcome, and allow patients at the highest risk of relapse to receive the most aggressive treatment.
The Thoracic Oncology Lab is pursuing a variety of strategies to treat and cure lung cancer, mesothelioma and esophageal cancer. These include the investigation of molecular pathways such as Wnt and Hh, the role of inflammation in lung carcinogenesis, isolation of lung cancer stems cells, and the Lung Cancer Systems Genetics Project, An Approach to Individualized Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy. Eventually, these efforts will have a major impact on these diseases.
The Alaoui Lab is a core component of the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Lab. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and early detection is critcal to its treatment. The Alaoui lab seeks to identify and characterize the molecular pathways critical to the development of lung cancer and to find methods for targeting them, most notably the role of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in lung carcinogenesis and reactivation of embryonic signaling pathways such as Wnt signaling. It is also investigating two extracellular regulators of Wnt signaling, Sulf-1 and Sulf-2, as new therapeutic targets. The lab utilizes state-of-the-art molecular and cellular technogies for conducting research including the Affy-gene Titan high throughput expression analysis and ABI HT 7900 qPCR and have access to the Thoracic Oncology Tissue Bank, one of the world's largest repositories of lung tumor tissue specimens.
The Bivona Lab engages in studies linking the bench with the bedside that investigate the molecular pathogenesis of human cancers, with a primary focus on lung cancer (e.g. please see Bivona TG, et al Nature 471, 523-526, 24 March 2011). Our objective is to enhance responses in patients to treatments that target aberrant signal transduction pathways that drive tumor growth.
We use emerging, multidisciplinary, and integrative functional genomics methodologies, highly relevant cell line and tumor model systems, and appropriate human tumor specimens to design novel, rational therapeutic strategies and to translate our findings into clinical applications. Our laboratory investigations often lead to clinical trials testing novel, molecularly-targeted cancer therapies that are aimed at improving the survival of genetically-defined subsets of patients with lung and other lethal cancers.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and worldwide. In 2012, it is estimated that in the U.S., 226,160 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and that 160,340 people will die of the disease, an annual mortality exceeding that of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer combined. Despite decades of research, overall 5-year survival has remained at a poor 15-17%. Because lung cancer develops deep within the chest cavity and typically causes no symptoms until the disease is advanced and incurable, early detection is critical. Investigators in the Kim Lab are deeply committed to reversing the inexorable course of lung cancer through bold investigation and innovative science using the latest next-generation sequencing technology.
Il-Jin Kim, Ph.D., Director of Applied Genomics in the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, has extensive experience in early detection, having led an effort to screen 1,000 patients in 400 families for major inherited conditions in the Korean Hereditary Tumor Registry. Molecular diagnostic screening is the future of early detection. The same molecular biomarkers also have in assessing prognosis and predicting response to treatement. Current genetic assays are technically complex, expensive, and slow making them impractical for routine screening. The Kim Lab is developing rapid, high-throughput, high-quality and cost-effective diagnostic assays for lung cancer to meet this unmet medical need.