Gagan Deep Lab

Exosomes Research. Hypoxia in primary prostate tumors is associated with metastasis, treatment failure and mortality; however, the precise underlying mechanisms remain unknown. In this regard, our completed studies strongly support the role of exosomes in mediating the hypoxia-induced prostate cancer cells invasiveness and metastasis. Interestingly, we have identified that hypoxic prostate cancer cells exosomes play a critical role in the preparation of pre-metastatic niches at specific distant organ sites. Since hypoxia is an early event during prostate carcinogenesis, it is pertinent that pre-metastatic niches preparations start earlier than actual metastasis. We believe that a better understanding of pre-metastatic niches would offer novel opportunities to prevent prostate cancer metastasis. 

Health Disparity Research. Prostate cancer exhibits the most striking racial disparity as African American men are at higher risk of being diagnosed and dying of prostate cancer, in comparison with Caucasian men. Although, multiple factors including socio-economic status contribute to this disparity but it is essential to identify the underlying biological differences. We are interested in identifying the unique molecular and biological events in the tumor and tumor microenvironment that contribute to the more aggressive phenotype in African American prostate cancer.

Cancer Chemoprevention Research. Cancer is a major health issue. Cancers such as glioma, pancreatic, and lung have extremely poor survival rates; and currently available therapeutic measures are costly, painful, and are rarely curative. In other cancers, such as prostate, breast, and colon, with existing screening programs, the 5-year survival rate is quite high. However, due to higher incidences, the mortality and morbidity burden of these cancers is enormous. Therefore, there is need for additional non-toxic and alternative strategies to treat, and ideally, prevent cancer. We could exploit the facts the initiated cells take decades to develop into a clinically significant disease, and cancer cells exhibit significant molecular alterations that are distinct from normal cells. Besides the genetic and epigenetic changes, tumor microenvironment plays an important role in determining whether initiated cells will remain dormant or advanced into a malignancy. Therefore, tumor microenvironment could also be a target for cancer prevention and intervention. One of our research goals is to discover and validate non-toxic agents for cancer prevention/ intervention with mechanistic evidences and target authentication in pre-clinical and clinical studies.

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