Melissa Hirose Wong, Ph.D.

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My laboratory is actively investigating the physiologic impact of cell fusion hybrids between circulating bone marrow-derived and intestinal tumor epithelial cells in advancing tumorigenesis. We have direct evidence that intestinal epithelial cell fusion hybrids generated after intestinal injury harbor a unique transcriptome that reflects expression potential from both intestinal cells and bone marrow-derived cells. It is our hypothesis that cell fusion may provide acquisition of blood-derived properties to tumor epithelium, permitting them to escape the primary tumor microenvironment and re-establish tumorigenesis at a distant site.

A second focus in my laboratory is to determine if cancer stem cell profiling can be used to inform disease behavior. We are currently investigating the expression pattern of these tumor-initiating cells in head and neck carcinoma and colon cancer before and after treatment and correlating our findings with disease aggressiveness. It is our hypothesis that a prevalent cancer stem cell phenotype may correlate with a more aggressive disease course. We hope that these studies will ultimately inform patient treatment and care.

Selected Publications

"A multicenter study to standardize reporting and analyses of fluorescence-activated cell-sorted murine intestinal epithelial cells," American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology (Vol: 305, Issue: 8, Page G542-G551) - 2013

"Effects of epidermal growth factor receptor and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor inhibition on proliferation and intracellular signaling in cutaneous SCCHN: Potential for dual inhibition as a therapeutic modality," Head and Neck (Vol: 35, Issue: 1, Page 86-93) - 2013

"Fusion between Hematopoietic and Epithelial Cells in Adult Human Intestine," PLoS ONE (Vol: 8, Issue: 1, ) - 2013

"Genetic basis of cell-cell fusion mechanisms," Trends in Genetics (Vol: 29, Issue: 7, Page 427-437) - 2013

"Isolation and characterization of intestinal stem cells based on surface marker combinations and colony-formation assay," Gastroenterology (Vol: 145, Issue: 2, Page 383-395.e21) - 2013


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  Email Melissa Wong

503 494-8749