Alan Houghton: Pathogenesis and Treatment of Melanoma

The laboratory has had a long-standing interest in the biology of melanoma and melanocytes and the diagnosis and therapy of melanoma. We have been generating and breeding transgenic mouse models of melanoma which have alterations in molecules and pathways implicated in human melanoma. These models are being used to investigate new approaches to therapy described in the project above.

We are collaborating with the Melanoma Disease Management Team, the Dermatology Service and the Department of Pathology to investigate transcriptional signatures of melanoma at different stages of tumor progression. We are characterizing the stromal components in melanoma tumors and cell populations in draining lymph nodes, including lymphocyte and myeloid population and molecules produced by these cell types and by melanoma. We will analyze the relationship of growth factors for melanoma and molecules that promote angiogenesis and modulate immune/inflammatory responses in relation to clinical behavior and outcomes. Our goal is to characterize molecules that play a role in melanoma pathogenesis in the context of identifying potential tools for diagnosis and targets for therapy.