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. 

    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. In this regard, we have developed a new focus area in colorectal cancer (CRC). We have identified hypoxia-sensitive protein markers with the ability to define a “stem-like” subtype to predict high-risk CRC in African-Americans (known to have more aggressive CRC). Identification of ethnic-specific tumor markers for CRC will set the ground for future submissions including a validation group and unraveling of the cellular and molecular underlining mechanisms. We anticipate gaining knowledge to impact CRC health disparities.

    Recent accomplishments and honors

     

    • 2014 Program Coordinator, Mississippi Prostate Cancer HBCU Undergraduate Research Training Program, Jackson, Miss.
    • 2014 Principal Investigator, Mississippi Prostate Cancer HBCU Undergraduate Research Training Program, Jackson, Miss.
    • 2015 Co-Principal Investigator, The Molecular Basis of Health Disparities in Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Program, Hyundai Hope on Wheels Program, Jackson, Miss.
    • 2015 Leading Editor special topic: Tumor hypoxia: Impact in tumorigenesis, diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutics, Frontiers in Oncology (http://journal.frontiersin.org/researchtopic/tumor-hypoxia-impact-in-tumorigenesis-diagnosis-prognosis-and-therapeutics-3972)

     

    Selected publications

     

    • Yun J, Espinoza I, Pannuti A, Romero D, Martinez L, Caskey M, Stanculescu A, Bocchetta M, Rizzo P, Band V, Band H, Kim HM, Park SK, Kang KW, Avantaggiati ML, Gomez CR, Golde T, Osborne B, Miele L. p53 Modulates Notch Signaling in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells by Associating With the Notch Transcriptional Complex Via MAML1. J Cell Physiol. 2015 Dec; 230 (12):3115-27. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25052.

    • Ma T, Schreiber CA, Knutson GJ, Khattouti AE, Sakiyama MJ, Hassan M, Charlesworth MC, Madden BJ, Zhou X, Vuk-Pavlović S, Gomez CR. Effects of oxygen on the antigenic landscape of prostate cancer cells. BMC Res Notes. 2015 Nov 18; 8: 687. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-1633-7.

    • Hassan M, El Khattouti A, Ejaeidi A, Ma T, Day WA, Espinoza I, Vijayakumar S, Gomez CR. Elevated Expression of Hepatoma Up-Regulated Protein Inhibits γ- Irradiation- Induced Apoptosis of Prostate Cancer Cells. J Cell Biochem. 2015 Oct 27. doi: 10.1002/jcb.25419.

    • Marshall R, Taylor I, Lahr C, Abell TL, Espinoza I, Gupta NK, Gomez CR. Bioelectrical Stimulation for the Reduction of Inflammation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Clin Med Insights Gastroenterol. 2015 Dec 6; 8: 55-9. doi: 10.4137/CGast.S31779.

    • Elkhattouti A, Hassan M, Gomez CR. Stromal Fibroblast in Age-Related Cancer: Role in Tumorigenesis and Potential as Novel Therapeutic Target. Front Oncol. 2015 Jul 27; 5: 158. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2015.00158.

    • Hassan M, Gomez CR. Molecular Biomarkers in Tumor Pathology. Journal Multidiscip Pathology. 2015; 2(1):1-7.

    • El-Khattouti A, Selimovic D, Haïkel Y, Megahed M, Gomez CR, 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. Cancer Lett. 2014 Feb 1; 343 (1):123-33. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.09.024. Epub 2013 Sep 27. PubMed PMID: 24080340.

    • Hassan M, El-Khattouti A, Tandon R, Gomez CR. Commensal microbiota in cancer development and therapy. JSM microbiology. 2013; 1(1):1002.

    • Gomez CR, Kosari F, Munz JM, Schreiber CA, Knutson GJ, Ida CM, El Khattouti A, Karnes RJ, Cheville JC, Vasmatzis G, Vuk-Pavlović S. Prognostic value of discs large homolog 7 transcript levels in prostate cancer. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 9; 8(12):e82833. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082833.