Dr. Vivek Rangnekar's Laboratory

Dr. Vivek M. Rangnekar’s laboratory studies the molecular cross-talk between oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, in an effort to tilt the balance in favor of tumor suppressor function. The strategy is to utilize the inherent strengths of the tumor against itself, to specifically target cell survival mechanisms that are common to diverse cancers, while leaving the normal host cells unharmed. The multi-faceted tumor suppressor protein Par-4/PAWR, originally identified by Dr. Rangnekar in 1993, serves as a paradigm for such studies. Interestingly, up-regulation of Par-4 protein induces apoptotic death specifically in cancer cells, and its absence leads to tumor growth. Par-4 induces apoptosis intracellularly acting in the cytoplasm or nucleus, or extracellularly via its cell surface receptor GRP78. Dr. Rangnekar’s team is now studying novel Par-4 secretagogues that can cause elevated secretion of Par-4 for inhibition of primary and metastatic tumors.