Adjunct Assistant Professor
Scientist, Biomedical Research Institute
Baystate Health System, Springfield, MA
Office phone: 413-794-9568
Email: Rong [dot] Shao [at] baystatehealth [dot] org
Office location: BayState Medical Center
Ph.D.: Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science
M.D.: Shanghai Second Medical University, China
Postdoctoral Training: Duke University
Molecular Mechanisms in Breast Cancer Development
Breast cancer is the most life-threatening lesion among women in this country and the incidence of the disease is still gradually increasing every year. Although early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer have much improved, mortality at the later stage of the cancer remains static. Major stepwise progression of the cancer is attributed to tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Tumor angiogenesis, the new vasculature formation from pre-existing blood vessels, is a fundamental process required for tumor growth. The angiogenic switch is initially triggered by the ectopic production and elaboration of angiogenic factors mainly from tumor cells including growth factors VEGF and bFGF. Those angiogenic molecules bind to specific membrane tyrosine kinase receptors to induce angiogenic signaling cascades in endothelial cells, a major component of the blood vasculature. The new vasculature developed by endothelial cells in turn facilitates tumor growth and expansion. In addition, the tumor angiogenesis is frequently associated with tumor metastasis, a process that is mainly characterized by tumor cells. Metastatic tumor cells are capable of defying constrains of tissue boundaries and migrating into foreign tissues as a consequence of secondary tumor development.
We are currently interested in the identification of molecules that potentially induce or mediate tumor angiogenesis and tumor metastasis. In addition, we focus on defining their molecular mechanisms underling tumor progression. The information obtained by these investigations will be apparently beneficial to the clinical treatment for cancer patients.