Laura Kresty, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health
Description of Research
Dr. Kresty’s research interests focus on cancer prevention, molecular epidemiology and the chemoprevention of aero-digestive tract cancers with an emphasis on esophageal adenocarcinoma and the precursor lesion, Barrett’s esophagus. Rates of esophageal adenocarcinoma have rapidly increased in tthe USA and other Westernized countries over the last three decades for reasons that are incompletely understood, but likely linked to environmental and dietary factors. Moreover, esophageal cancer survival rates are poor supporting the need for improved preventive strategies to target populations at increased risk for esophageal cancer development.
Dr. Kresty’s research group evaluates select dietary-derived constituents, as well as synthetically produced agents, as cancer inhibitors utilizing a panel of in vitro assays, employing clinically relevant in vivo models, and translating the evaluation of promising agents into phase I and phase II trials in high risk human cohorts. Ongoing studies include evaluations of black raspberries, cranberry extracts, and NSAID (Sulindac) in combination with an H2 blocker, Vitamin D and a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor.
Additional laboratory interests include investigating the relationship between energy balance and the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma, environmental factors and epigentetic alterations contributing to head and neck cancer disparities, and evaluating novel imaging technologies to detect early epithelial and sub-epithelial esophageal changes for more rapid evaluation of chemopreventive agents.
- Reporting for the first time that p16INK4a and p14ARF tumor suppressor gene alterations are common in patients with oral verrucous leukoplakia, a rare but highly aggressive form of oral premailignancy in which over 70% of patients progress to cancer. Ultimately, these data illustrate that the molecular alterations, even within a specific genetic region, are associated with a distinct phenotype and oral histopathology; which may impact disease progression, treatment strategies and patient prognosis.
- Found that cranberry proanthocyanidins (PAC) have potent cancer inhibitory potential utilizing a panel of aerodigestive tract cancer cell lines (esophageal, lung and colon lines). Discovered previously unreported mechanisms of PAC inhibition.
- Investigated the cancer inhibitory potential of a newly developed phenylbutyrate derived histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) utilizing esophageal, lung and colon cancer cell lines. Findings support that the HDACi is inhibitory at sub-micromolar concentrations as evidenced by significant effects on the biologic processes of cellular proliferation and apoptosis, altered gene expression profiles, and changes in key cell cycle regulatory proteins and tumor suppressor genes, including P21, P16, PTEN and STK11.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications
- Lewis JE, Soler-Vilá H, Clark PE, Kresty La, Allen GO, Hu JJ. Intake of plant foods and associated nutrients in prostate cancer risk. Nutr Cancer 61:216-24,2009. Read more »
Collaborating in the Multidisciplinary Research Program(s):