Sherine Elsawa, Ph.D.

Sherine Elsawa, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Educational Background:

Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Charlotte, NC, 2003
M.S., Florida International University. Miami, FL, 1998
B.Sc., University of Alexandria. Alexandria, Egypt, 1992

General Area of Interest and/or Specialty:

Cancer biology/ Tumor microenvironment

Description of Current Research and/or Professional Activities: 

Targeting the tumor microenvironment in cancer 

The long-term goal of our research group is to improve the treatment of cancer patients through the understanding of cytokine signaling in the tumor microenvironment. 

Despite major therapeutic advances in the treatment of cancer, most malignancies remain incurable. Evidence for the role of the microenvironment that surrounds the tumor cells is growing. The tumor microenvironment is composed of stroma, vasculature, inflammatory cells, cytokines, growth factors and the extracellular matrix. There is compelling evidence to suggest that the crosstalk between malignant cells and stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment favors disease progression by promoting malignant cell functions as well as drug resistance. Therefore, disrupting this interaction between the tumor cells and their microenvironment is an attractive strategy for cancer treatment. As the paradigm in the treatment of cancer shifts toward combining therapies that target both malignant cells and the microenvironment, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate the crosstalk between malignant cells and the microenvironment are clearly needed. 

Our group is studying the tumor microenvironment using the bone marrow microenvironment as a model. We have identified cytokines that are dysregulated in lymphoma (Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia) patients and their impact on the biology of this malignancy. Using a combination of in vitro/in vivo genetic and pharmacological models, we are defining the signaling that uses GLI transcription factors, effectors of the Hedgehog pathway, as mediators of the crosstalk between the cytokines in the tumor microenvironment.

Ongoing projects in our group focus on the following:

  • New signaling molecules affecting the tumor-microenvironment.
  • Cytokine interaction in the tumor microenvironment.
  • Development of in vivo models to study the tumor microenvironment.

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