Dr. Zhen Fan
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Experimental Therapeutics
- Recombinant therapeutic antibody technology (antibody engineering)
- Identification and validation of new cancer targets
- Development of new therapeutic strategies
- Novel biological pathways in cancer cells
- Mechanistic insights into cancer biology
The research directions in my laboratory are twofold: to develop novel therapeutic agents for targeted cancer therapy (academically affiliated with MD Anderson's Center for Targeted Therapy and the GSBS Experimental Therapeutics Program) and to elucidate novel functions of cancer-related molecules and novel signaling pathways in cancer cells (academically affiliated with MD Anderson's Center for Biological Pathways and the GSBS Cancer Biology Program).
Our laboratory is experienced in utilizing recombinant antibody technology (antibody engineering) to construct and express antibody genes and to produce antibodies in spinner/shaker flasks and in bioreactors. By utilizing cutting-edge technology and innovative strategies to design novel recombinant multifunctional antibodies, we aim to develop second-generation antibodies that are expected to work better than the first-generation antibodies currently used to treat cancer patients. We are also interested in collaborating with chemists to develop novel small molecule anticancer drugs.
Our research in cancer biology focuses on investigating novel cell signaling molecules and pathways that may lead to identification and validation of new targets or new co-targeting strategies for developing innovative cancer treatment. Specifically, we are interested in studying novel roles of signaling molecules (such as Brk, Akt, mTOR, PTEN, LKB1, AMPK, HIF-1α, STATs, etc.) and the pathways downstream to the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) family (HER1, HER2, HER3 and HER4) in regulating cancer cell metabolism (i.e., Warburg effect), proliferation, apoptosis or autophagy, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis, and cancer cell interaction with tumor stroma cells (such as cancer-associated fibroblasts).
Luwor RB, Lu Y, Li X, Liang K, Fan Z. Constitutively active Harvey Ras confers resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor-targeted therapy with cetuximab and gefitinib. Cancer Letters 306(1):85-91, 7/2011. e-Pub 3/2011. PMCID: PMCPMC3102794.
Liang K, Esteva FJ, Albarracin C, Stemke-Hale K, Lu Y, Bianchini G, Yang CY, Li Y, Li X, Chen CT, Mills GB, Hortobagyi GN, Mendelsohn J, Hung MC, Fan Z. Recombinant human erythropoietin antagonizes trastuzumab treatment of breast cancer cells via Jak2-mediated Src activation and PTEN inactivation. Cancer Cell 18(8):401-2, 11/2010. PMCID: PMC3022383.
Lu Y, Li X, Lu H, Fan Z. 1, 9-Pyrazoloanthrones downregulate HIF-1α and sensitize cancer cells to cetuximab-mediated anti-EGFR therapy. PLoS One 5(12), 12/2010. PMCID: PMC3012113.
Li X, Fan Z. The EGFR antibody cetuximab induces autophagy in cancer cells by downregulating HIF-1α and Bcl-2 and activating the beclin-1/hVps34 complex. Cancer Res 70(14):5942–52, 7/15/2010. PMCID: PMC2933174.
Li X, Lu Y, Pan T, Fan Z. Roles of autophagy in cetuximab-mediated cancer therapy against EGFR. Autophagy 6(8):1066-1077, 11/2010. e-Pub 11/2010. PMID: 20864811.
Program in Cancer Biology