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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

 
Barbara  Fingleton

Barbara Fingleton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology
Researcher

Contact Information:

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
734 Preston Building
Nashvill, TN 37232-6840
615-936-5877
Fax: 615-936-2911

Profile

The overarching theme of my laboratory is delineating the positive and negative roles of molecules that are typically considered immune-associated, in solid tumors. In particular, we focus on colorectal and breast cancers and the process of metastasis. Despite excellent recovery rates for patients with locally confined cancers, once there is metastatic disease, survival rates are reduced dramatically.
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The overarching theme of my laboratory is delineating the positive and negative roles of molecules that are typically considered immune-associated, in solid tumors. In particular, we focus on colorectal and breast cancers and the process of metastasis. Despite excellent recovery rates for patients with locally confined cancers, once there is metastatic disease, survival rates are reduced dramatically. We want to understand what makes cancers spread where, and when they do?; how do cancerous cells survive in different tissue environments such as lung or liver?; and, most critically, how can we find and treat metastatic disease? We are interested in two particular classes of inflammation-associated molecules as molecular determinants of metastasis: matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and interleukins.

Education
  • B. Sc., Dublin City University, 1992
  • Ph.D., Dublin City University, 1996
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University, 2001
Research Specialty

Understanding function and how to therapeutically target inflammatory molecules in colitis and colon cancer

Research Description

My background is in the area of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and how they contribute to cancer development and progression. I have been especially interested in testing drugs that can inhibit MMPs in cancer models and in understanding why such drugs have not been effective in human cancer patients. Lately, I have focused on some of the roles of specific MMPs in pre-cancerous inflammatory conditions, particularly colitis. We have identified a protective function for a specific MMP in colitis and are currently working on elucidating the mechanism. Additionally, I work on the cytokines IL4 and IL13 and their receptors ,and how these molecules can influence colon cancer development and progression. We use multiple mouse models combined with in vitro approaches to address the pleiotropic functions of these cytokines which affect both the epithelial cancer cells and the inflammatory infiltrate within tumors.

Publications