Associate Professor in Urology, Feinberg School of Medicine
The Volpert laboratory is focused on the studies of angiogenesis, the growth of new capillaries. Many pathological conditions, including cancer and arthritis, depend on angiogenesis for progression. Angiogenesis is controlled by a balance between positive and negative regulators, inducers and inhibitors in the environment of endothelial cells.
When affected by disease, the cells may actively attract new vessels. Some of their studies are focused on the genes that regulate this switch from non-angiogenic, and often inhibitory, to aggressively angiogenic phenotype. Both oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes may be involved in this regulation by increasing secreted angiogenic stimuli and down-regulating inhibitors of aniogenesis. Among such genes are p53, rb, src, and ras.
Natural inhibitors of angiogenesis are powerful tools that may be used to control tumor angiogenesis and therefore hold in check both primary tumors and dormant metastases. The Volpert lab is searching for novel inhibitors as well as trying to understand the molecular mechanisms of action of well-known factors such as thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) and pigment epithelium derived factor (PEDF). They mainly focus on their ability to induce apoptotic cell death in the activated endothelial cells and the common signaling events underlying this effect.
The Volpert laboratory also works on the interactions of TSP-1 and PEDF with endothelial cells. An anti-angiogenic receptor for TSP-1 is now known, while a search for the receptor for PEDF is in progress.
These studies are aimed at providing new therapies to facilitate treatment of angiogenesis-dependent disease, including cancer.
Office: Olson Pavilion Room 8416
Email: olgavolp [at] northwestern [dot] edu