The HMRI Molecular Pathology Program is investigating the role of cell adhesion molecules in breast and prostate cancer to reliably identify critical stages in the progression of these diseases. It has also been providing new insights into how the switching off and on of cellular adhesion molecules may be used to stop the spread of cancer.
Dr. S. Ashraf Imam is investigating the existence of biomarkers that can reliably identify high-risk and low-risk cancer patients. The long-term objective of his ongoing research with telomerase, a high-risk cancer biomarker, is to discover the mechanisms of its activity in the progression of breast cancer and to find a way to inhibit that activity in cancer cells.
In conjunction with that research, he has revealed a protein on the surface of breast cancer tumor cells, called luminal epithelial antigen (LEA.13), which appears to be an accurate predictor of high or low risk for the recurrence of breast cancer. His studies may lead to the development of better, more reliable methods for pre-screening patients with primary invasive breast cancer prior to recurrence and may point to the most effective adjuvant therapies in breast cancer case management.