Dr. Jeffrey's lab is focused on device development and applications to identify tumor-specific therapies for the personalized treatment of cancer.
MagSweeper and Isolation of Live Circulating Tumor Cells
A main focus of the lab's research involves extracting and genomically profiling live circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood and disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) from bone marrow to shed light on the metastatic process and help choose appropriate therapies for individual cancer patients. Dr. Jeffrey worked with colleagues from the Genome Technology Center and School of Engineering to invent a new technology called the MagSweeper. It is an automated immunomagnetic separation device that isolates live rare cells from blood or other fluids or tissues with high purity and minimal impact on gene expression. Members of the lab perform high dimensional single cell analyses on CTCs to investigate how transcriptional profiles or multiplex mutations influence drug response and clinical outcome in breast, lung, pancreatic, and liver cancer. Shanaz Dairkee, PhD, a Visiting Professor in the Jeffrey Lab, oversees a joint project aimed at expanding rare tumor cell populations for drug testing.
Device Development to Guide Cancer Therapy Selection
Dr. Jeffrey, Dr. Dairkee, and colleagues from the Genome Technology Center and School of Engineering are leveraging their experience in device development, drug testing, and circulating tumor cells to invent a new chip that rapidly determines the sensitivity of cancer cells to different chemotherapeutic agents in real-time. The chip tests primary or metastatic tumor cells obtained by fine needle aspiration (FNA) or core needle biopsy, with the goal of optimizing selection of effective patient-specific therapies at any time during the course of the patient's disease. The chip is also designed for use with CTCs from a blood sample (a "liquid biopsy") to potentially eliminate the need for tissue biopsy of metastatic lesions.
Drug Response Signatures
The Jeffrey lab performs preclinical drug testing on patient-derived xenograft models to identify specific breast cancers that may be targeted by epigenetic pathway inhibitors and other new drugs. As part of a joint collaboration, drug response signatures are first generated by Dr. Andrea Bild's laboratory at the University of Utah, and then validated by the Jeffrey lab to determine how these newer therapies may be best applied in breast cancer.
Molecular Profiling of Cancer
Dr. Jeffrey was a member of the collaborative Stanford/Norway team (with Professors David Botstein, Pat Brown, Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale) that pioneered the use of DNA microarrays to measure global gene expression in solid tumors and contributed to the currently accepted classification of breast cancer molecular subtypes, including the luminal and basal-like subtypes. Her laboratory refined RNA amplification techniques and developed expertise in the transcriptional profiling of tiny quantities of tumor tissue. Visiting Professor Alfredo Ribeiro-Silva from Brazil worked in the lab to compare methods for optimizing RNA isolation from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples.
NASA Collaboration
In the past, Dr. Jeffrey worked with Dr. Robert Mah at NASA Ames Research Center to study multiplex in-vivo physiological attributes of breast tumors in real-time using a multisensor NASA Smart Probe that she co-developed with Dr. Mah. It is hoped that future studies will associate real-time physiological features with tumor profiles for intelligent drug selection.
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