Cancer Institute

  • Christian Gomez

    gomez_christian.jpgAssociate Professor, Department of Pathology and Department of Radiation Oncology

    Researcher, Department of Urology, G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Veterans Administration Medical Center
    Tumor Cell Biology Program
    PhD, Biomedical Sciences, 2004, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    Postdoc, 2004-08, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL
    Assistant Professor, 2008-11, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Rochester, MN

    Contact information
    2500 N. State St., Room G657
    Jackson, MS 39216
    Phone: (601) 815-3060
    E-mail: crgomez@umc.edu

    Research interests

    • Hypoxia-regulated genes in carcinogenesis and prognosis
    • Immunotherapy for cancer
    • Effects of advanced age on inflammation, immunoregulation and injury

    Research synopsis

    The general research interest focus of our lab is on modulating cellular microenvironment to offset the effects of disease and aging. Our ongoing efforts are to develop more effective cancer immunotherapy, particularly immunotherapy of prostate cancer (PCa).

    One of our projects tests the hypothesis that hypoxically grown cells mimic more closely the antigenic signature of (the naturally hypoxic) tumor cells in situ than do the currently studied cellular vaccines prepared in air. The aim is to characterize the antigenic landscape of hypoxically cultured PCa cells and compare it to that of normoxic PCa cells.

    Consequently, we are identifying oxygen-tension (ρO2) responsive genes and proteins in PCa cells using transcriptomics, proteomics and immune techniques for detection of tumor-associated antigens in PCa cells. Our findings are validated by studying gene expression also in patient-derived PCa tissue.

    In another project, we have found the transcripts of hypoxia-regulated genes, overexpressed in human primary PCa and human PCa cell lines. In our studies gene expression correlated with pathological scores and prognosis. Consequently, we hypothesize that hypoxia-regulated transcript levels can serve as a prognostic factor. We are testing this hypothesis by measuring the levels of hypoxia-controlled transcripts in resected PCa tissues and studying the association with survival.

    In addition, in PCa cells, we are overexpressing selected genes and studying the effects of hypoxia-controlled genes on proliferation, anchorage-dependent and independent growth, and sensitivity to cytotoxic drugs. Validation of hypoxia-controlled genes' role in tumor progression will classify these molecules as a potentially new biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

    Identification of molecular mechanisms of hypoxia controlled genes -mediated PCa tumorigenesis will poise us to propose them as potential therapeutic targets. Our long term goal is to identify novel therapeutic protocols for PCa and other tumors treatment.

    We have identified molecules with prognostic value in high-risk PCa patients. Using our database for Prostate Cancer at UMMC and our newly developed database at the Department of Urology, G. V. "Sonny" Montgomery VA Medical Center, Jackson, MS, we will expand our results and test the association between the expression of hypoxia-controlled genes as molecular prognostic and theranostic biomarkers in other populations. In those studies we will include African Americans, at particular higher risk for aggressive PCa.

    Recent accomplishments and honors

    • 2010 AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research
    • 2011 Prostate Cancer Foundation, Treatment Sciences Creativity Awards recipient 

    Selected publications

    • Gomez C.R., Kosari F, Munz J-M, Schreiber CA, Knutson GJ, et al. (2013) Prognostic Value of Discs Large Homolog 7 Transcript Levels in Prostate Cancer. PLoS ONE 8(12): e82833. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082833
    • Gomez, C.R., Knutson, G., Bulur, P., Schreiber, C., Vuk-Pavlovic S. Age-dependent response of bone marrow cells to hyperbaric oxygen. 2012. BMC Medicine. 13: 287–297.
    • Nomellini, V., Mahbub, S., Gomez, C.R., and Kovacs, E.J. Dysregulation of neutrophil CXCR2 and pulmonary endothelial icam-1 promotes age-related pulmonary inflammation. 2012. Aging Dis. 3:234-47
    • Hassan, M., El-Khattouti, A., Tandon, R., Gomez, C.R. Commensal microbiota in cancer development and therapy. 2013. JSM Microbiology 1(1):1002
    • El-Khattouti, A., Selimovic, D., Haïkel, Y., Megahed, M., Gomez, C.R., Hassan, M. Identification and analysis of CD133+ melanoma stem- like cells conferring resistance to taxol: an insight into the mechanisms of their resistance and response. 2013. Cancer Lett. 2013 Sep 27. pii: S0304-3835(13)00693-9. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.09.024. (Epub ahead of print)
    • Gomez, C.R., Kosari, F., Munz, J.M., Schreiber, C., Knutson, G., Charlesworth, C., Karnes, R. J., Cheville, J., Vasmatzis, G., Vuk-Pavlovic, S. Prognostic value of hypoxia-associated genes in prostate cancer (in press PlosOne)