The Klemke laboratory is investigating how signaling networks regulate cell migration, cancer metastasis, and angiogenesis. Using large-scale proteomics and computational biology, they have identified several key signaling proteins that contribute to tumor formation, cancer cell invasion, and survival in human cancers. They are also studying how these proteins contribute to the formation and invasive properties of cancer stem cells, which are resistant to chemotherapeutic agents.
Researchers in the Klemke laboratory have also developed a novel zebrafish xenograft model of human cancer progression. This system enables direct visualization of the dynamic processes of human tumor formation, angiogenesis, and cell invasion in living organisms at high resolution and in real-time. Imaging analyses are being done in collaboration with the Cancer Imaging Network (CIN), which provides clinical and basic science cancer researchers with state-of-the-art graphics software tools. With these programs, researchers can generate detailed 3-D reconstructions of developing tumors and their supporting vascular network, track invasive migratory cells, and perform interactive 3-D and 4-D (3-D in real time) cell measurements in live animals. The zebrafish model provides an in vivo system for identifying mechanisms of cancer progression and studying the efficacy of new anticancer compounds in a time- and cost-effective manner.