Janusz Rak, MD, PhD - Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre
cancer • exosomes • oncogenes • angiogenesis • coagulation
My research focuses on the role of the vasculature and blood in aggressiveness and progression of human cancers, especially in the brain, kindey and hematopoietic system. We study how angiogenic and clotting factors influence the malignant disease and how to treat tumours more effectively using agents targeting vascular abnormalities. We described cancer-induced vascular processes that are distinct in adult and children. We also focus on cancer-specific interactions between tumour cells and vascular cells by exchange of unique cellular fragments known as extracellular vesicles or exosomes, some of which contain cancer causing genes and regulatory proteins and can serve as unprecedented sources of diagnostic information in cancer. We believe that interruption of intercellular connections represents a new frontier in therapy of human malignancies.
I. Nakano, D. Garnier, M. Minata & J. Rak: Extracellular vesicles in the biology of brain tumour stem cells – implications for inter-cellular communication, therapy and biomarker development. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology (SCDB), 2015, S1084-9521(15)00038-5. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.02.011. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25721810.
E. D'Asti*, M. Kool, S. Pfister J. Rak: Subgroup-specific deregulation of coagulation and angiogenic factor profiles in medulloblastoma - evidence for cross-talk between growth factor and coagulation pathways. J. Thrombosis and Hemostasis (JTH), 2014, 12(11):1838-49 PMID: 25163932.
N. Magnus*, D. Garnier*, B. Meehan**, S. McGraw, T-H. Lee, M. Caron, G. Bourque, C. Milsom, N. Jabado, J. Trasler1, R. Pawlinski, N. Mackman & J. Rak: Tissue factor expression modulates gliomagenesis, provokes escape from tumor dormancy and leads to genomic alterations, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS), 2014, Mar 4;111(9):3544-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1314118111. Epub 2014 Feb 11- recommended by Faculty 1000 PMID: 24520174.
K. Al-Nedawi*, B. Meehan, J. Micallef, V. Lhotak*, L. May**, A. Guha & J. Rak: Intercellular transfer of the oncogenic EGFRvIII via tumor cell derived microvesicles. Nature Cell Biology, 2008, 10, 5: 619-624- Editorialized, media coverage PMID: 18425114.
J.L. Yu*, L. May**, V. Lhotak*, S. Shahrzad, S. Shirasawa, J.I. Weitz, B. Coomber, N. Mackman & J. Rak. Oncogenic events regulate tissue factor expression in colorectal cancer cells: Implications for tumor progression and angiogenesis. Blood, 2005, 105: 1734-1741 with cover (Prepublished online as Blood First Edition Paper, October 19, 2004; DOI 10.1182/blood-2004-05-2042).PMID: 15494427.