The Vasudevan Laboratory
non-coding RNAs, microRNAs, AU-rich elements, Translation, Cytokines, VEGF, oocytes, cell cycle, qui
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Ce
The Vasudevan laboratory focuses on the role of noncoding RNAs in cancer cells. Tumors demonstrate heterogeneity, harboring a small proportion of assorted quiescent cells that switch from rapid proliferation—characteristic of other cancer cells—to a specialized, reversibly arrested state that decreases their susceptibility to chemotherapy. Quiescent cancer cells can resist conventional therapeutics and contribute to cancer recurrence, resuming proliferation and cancerous growth upon chemotherapy removal. Previous data revealed that microRNAs, noncoding RNAs that control vital genes in cancer and growth, are important for the persistence of quiescent cancer cells. The primary goal of our research program is to characterize the expression and roles of noncoding regulatory RNAs, such as microRNAs and AU-rich elements (AREs), in quiescence and tumor progression. A complementary focus is to investigate the regulation of noncoding RNAs and AREs in response to quiescent and hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions in tumors and germ cells. Our goal is to develop a greater understanding of the versatile roles of regulatory RNAs in cancer as a basis for designing new drug therapies.