Nelson, Peter

Faculty Profile

First Name: 
Peter
Last Name: 
Nelson
[field_fname-formatted] [field_lname-formatted]
Title: 
Professor
Primary Institution: 
FHCRC
Department/Division: 
Human Biology
Department/Division: 
other
E-Mail: 
Mail/Box #: 

Box 358080/D4-100

Office Location: 

D4-109

Office Phone: 
(206) 667-3377
Research

Research Summary: 

EXPLOITING CANCER GENOMICS AND THE TUMOR MICROENVIRONMENT TO GUIDE ONCOLOGY TREATMENT

We focus on prostate cancer as a ‘test case’ that dramatically illustrates the variation in cancer behavior and response to treatment between individuals. New 'omics approaches have the potential to avoid ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatments, eliminate ineffective therapy, and precisely apply interventions tailored to individual tumor vulnerabilities.

Molecular Analysis of Therapies for Early and Late Stage Prostate Carcinoma. We aim to determine molecular features that associate with response and resistance mechanisms to cancer treatments. Several clinical (translational) trials are underway including studies incorporating large-scale tumor genome sequencing. Tissue samples are acquired pre- and post-therapy and molecular correlates of direct drug effects are identified to define tumor and host signatures: (a) predictive of therapeutic response and (b) predictive of disease outcome (relapse). Mechanism-based assessments of specific oncogenic mutations serve to focus further drug development.

Characterization of the Cellular Androgen Receptor (AR) Program. The AR is first known example of a ‘precision medicine’ target that continues to be the major focus of treatment in advanced prostate cancer. We have identified a network of genes that are regulated by androgens in prostate cancer cells. Systematic studies involving overexpression and down-regulation of these genes is in progress to determine the cellular function with the aim of identifying those genes involved in proliferation, anti-apoptosis, differentiation, and treatment resistance. Genes with prostate-restricted expression serve as therapeutic targets for immunological and pharmacological strategies.

Determining the Role of the Tumor Microenvironment (TME) in Cancer Development and Treatment Resistance. The microenvironments within which malignant neoplasms arise can exert profound influences on tumor behaviors that range from a complete reversion of neoplastic cells to the promotion of tumor invasion and metastatic growth. The architecture of most solid tumors includes an assortment of non-malignant cell types that carry out structural or functional roles including fibroblasts, muscle cells, nerves, and vasculature. We have determined that components of tumor microenvironments (TME) also contribute to de novo and acquired treatment resistance. Ongoing work centers on characterizing a damage-response program in the TME that is comprised of a remarkable spectrum of proteases, growth factors and cytokines. The composite effects of this program promote tumor cell proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and also enhance resistance to therapeutics.

Short Research Description: 
Molecular Biology of Cancer Development and Progression
Areas of Interest: 
Cancer Biology
Genetics, Genomics & Evolution
Keywords: 
<p> Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cancer, Tumor Microenvironment, Genomics</p>
Publications


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