Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States and remains the second leading cause of cancer-associated deaths in American women. Therefore, it is critically important to identify new biomarkers and therapies to improve overall survival. The long-term goal of the Privette Vinnedge lab is to identify and characterize novel molecular drivers of breast cancer with the hopes that they may be strong biomarkers or targets for new therapies.
We employ a wide combination of models, including 2- and 3-dimensional cell culture, genetic mouse models, and human patient samples to determine how the DEK oncogene promotes tumorigenesis. DEK is a chromatin organizing protein that plays multiple roles in nucleic acid organization and usage. Our studies focus on both the mechanism(s) of DEK over-expression in breast cancer but also its downstream effects, including the activation of Wnt signaling. Additional projects in our lab include pre-clinical testing of novel therapeutics to treat breast cancer and the analysis of patient tissues to identify biomarkers of disease and disease outcome.