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Kristin Kwakwa, Ph.D.

Department: Cancer Biology

Faculty Mentor: Julie Sterling, Ph.D.

Dissertation Title: Targeting Gli-Mediated Transcription in Bone Metastasis: An Emerging Therapeutic Approach for Patients with Tumor-Induced Bone Disease

Dissertation DescriptionBone is a common metastatic site for many cancers. Signals from the bone microenvironment cause tumor cells to secrete factors that stimulate bone cells, resulting in osteolytic disease. Growth factors released as a consequence of bone resorption further promote tumor growth and osteolysis. In the Sterling Lab, we study mechanisms that regulate the progression of certain cancer types—breast, prostate, lung, oral, myeloma—in bone as well as tumor-induced bone disease. My project involves the use of a novel 3D perfusion bioreactor and in vivo mouse models to study interactions between tumor cells and osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and bone marrow cells. I will also use a nanoparticle-based delivery system for application of novel inhibitory compounds to tumors residing in bone and examine their effects on targets previously identified in the laboratory.