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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


Ambra Pozzi, Ph.D.

Professor of Cancer Biology
Professor of Medicine (Nephrology)
Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
VICC Member

Contact Information:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
S-3223 Medical Center North
Nashville, TN 37232-2372

Research Specialty

Role of arachidonic acid derived lipids in angiogenesis and tumorigenesis

Research Description

Our laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor-associated angiogenesis in order to devise effective and well-tolerated anti-angiogenic therapies. We are analyzing the contribution of the cytochrome P450 monooxygenases in tumorigenesis. The cytochrome P450 monooxygenases oxidize arachinonic acid to a) HETEs (arachidonic acid w-hydroxylase), or b) EETs (arachinonic acid epoxygenase). Work from us and others has identified the endothelial P450 arachidonic acid epoxygenases (CYP2C) and their metabolites, the EETs as pro-angiogenic factors, and showed that reductions in endothelial EET levels leads to inhibition of tumor growth and angiogenesis. In this regard, disruption of the Cyp2c gene, or downregulation of its expression via activation of the peroxisomal proliferator activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha), reduces endothelial cell functions in vitro and tumor vascularization in vivo. Thus, we propose that Cyp2c and PPARalpha function as pro- and anti-tumorigenic genes, respectively. The overall goal of this research is to use established mouse models of cancer to define the role of PPARalpha and Cyp2c in cancer progression. Rotating students will have the opportunity to learn:

1) How to isolate and culture primary endothelial cells from various transgenic mouse lines.

2 How to assess in vitro the pro- and/or anti-angiogenic effects of various drugs.

3) How to assess in vivo the pro- and/or anti-angiogenic effects of various drugs.

4) How to isolate and analyze tumors following treatment with the drug of interest.