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  • Prof.  Michael Elkin
Michael Elkin
Research Interests
Our lab is focusing on the pathologic interactions between carcinoma cells and host micro-environment. It becomes increasingly clear that during tumor progression cancer cells of epithelial origin actively remodel the host stroma, and the stromal compartment in turn profoundly modifies the malignant potential of the tumor cells. Detailed understanding of the molecular events responsible for these phenomena is necessary for development of effective anticancer therapies, targeting pathological interplay between carcinomas and their microenvironment. In particular, we are interested in pursuing the following avenues of investigation:  
1. Mechanisms through which chronic inflammation contributes to cancer progression and resistance to therapy:
a. tumor-associated macrophages and their mode of action in malignancy.
inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) - a prototype of chronic inflammation leading to cancer development. Abnormal interactions between cellular / extracellular elements of the colon tissue and their role in inflammation-driven tumorigenesis.
c. role of inflammatory microenvironment in conferring aggressiveness and radio/chemotherapy resistance in pancreatic cancer.
d. modulation of clinical behavior of the tumor by chronic infection in head & neck cancer.
Complex relationships between heparanase enzyme (critical determinant of tumor-host interactions) and heparan sulfate proteoglycans (heparanase substrate and at the same time regulator of its activity), as important biological mechanism of cancer progression.
Impact of obesity / diabetes on patho-biologic characteristics of malignant tumors in breast/pancreas and their response to treatment.
4. Control of tumor-microenvironment crosstalk in hormonally regulated cancers (i.e., breast, prostate).
These research directions are supported by grants from NIH, GIF, EFSD and ISF.
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