Clinical Research Areas: Liver cancer surgery and melanoma surgery.
Laboratory Research Areas: 1) Viral oncolysis/gene therapy; 2) hepatocellular transformation.
One laboratory research focus is on viral oncolysis of solid tumors. We have examined Herpes simplex virus 1 immediately early gene regulation as a strategy to achieve preferential HSV-1 replication in transformed cells compared to normal cells. We are also involved in integration of specific therapeutic transgenes into these viral mutants. The laboratory work centers on genetic engineering of viral mutants, preclinical characterization, and clinical trials of viral oncolytic gene therapy.
A second laboratory research focus is on pathways involved in hepatocellular transformation to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the setting of cirrhosis. Recent studies on the EGF gene demonstrate a functional single nucleotide polymorphism that increases serum and liver EGF levels and significantly raises risk for HCC. Prevention of HCC by blockade of EGFR signalling can prevent HCC in preclinical models.