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In keeping with its mission to promote translational research, a primary focus of the research in the Division is the generation of mouse models of human cancer and the use of such models for pre-clinical studies. Members of the Division, through efforts in the NCI's Mouse Models of Human Cancer Consortium, which has just been competively renewed, have developed a series of models of prostate cancer, which closely resemble the human disease. These models are based on the loss of function of two genes known to be important in human prostate cancer, namely, Nkx3.1 and Pten . Similar to the human disease, these mice progress from pre-invasive to invasive lesions and ultimately metastasize as a consequence of aging. Researchers within the Division are using these models to dissect the pathways involved in prostate carcinogenesis. Their research has demonstrated the significance of activating the Akt signaling pathway for both early and later stages of prostate cancer. Recent studies have shown that changes in the epigenetic program also contribute to cancer progression.

Principal Investigator, Characterization of Msx1 in murine embryogenesis; NIH

Principal Investigator, Roles of Nkx3.1 in prostate development and cancer; NIH

Principal Investigator, A mouse model for prostate cancer; NIH, Mouse Models for Human Cancer Consortium