Desprez Lab

California Pacific CURRENTS: The online journal of CPMC Research Institute

Aggressive cancer cells, and inactivation of Id-1 gene expression
The left panel shows aggressive cancer cells that have lost the ability to communicate and that are able to migrate and invade their microenvironment. The right panel shows the same cancer cells after inactivation of Id-1 gene expression. These cells acquired a more normal rounded shape, reestablished contact and started to lose the markers specific for aggressive cancer cells (in green, where nuclei are visualized in blue).

When a cancerous tumor is localized there are viable strategies for removal. However, once the cancer spreads (i.e., metastasizes) to neighboring tissues, treatment becomes significantly more challenging.

Exploring the mechanisms of breast cancer at the cellular level, the Desprez lab is studying the activity of a gene and related enzyme that determine whether a breast cancer tumor remains localized or metastasizes. The Id-1 gene is implicated in approximately 20 cancer types, and is over-expressed in most breast cancer cells. Our lab is investigating how Id-1 controls normal and cancerous cell growth, and determines the aggressiveness of breast, brain and prostate cancers.

We are also exploring the efficacy of cannabidiol and other cannabinoid derivatives that down-regulate Id-1, as potential cancer therapies.

Lead Investigator
Current Projects
  • CPMCRI's Cancer Avatar Project
  • Role of ID-1 in metastatic breast cancer
  • Cannabidiol and other cannabinoid derivatives as inhibitors of cancer invasion and metastasis