Vinata B. Lokeshwar, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Urology
Description of Research
The research focus of Dr. Lokeshwar’s laboratory is on understanding the mechanisms of cancer progression for finding better diagnostic and prognostic tumor markers and novel agents to control cancer progression. A major focus of the laboratory is to examine how hyaluronic acid (HA), a glycosaminoglycan, and hyaluronidase (HAase), which degrades HA, promotes tumor growth, metastasis and angiogenesis. Furthermore, they are targeting the HA-HAase system for developing novel therapeutics and biomarkers. For example, an HA-synthesis inhibitor, 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU) was found to inhibit prostate cancer growth, invasion and angiogenesis. A novel HYAL-1 inhibitor synthesized in her laboratory is showing similar results. Dr. Lokeshwar’s lab is testing these novel drugs in bladder and kidney cancer models either as single agents or in combination with conventional therapy. Their previous work on the HA-HAase urine test and recent Q-PCR assays show that HYAL-1 and HA-synthase HAS2 are accurate markers for diagnosing bladder cancer. Furthermore, HYAL-1 transcript and protein levels predict metastasis in bladder and prostate carcinomas. Dr. Lokeshwar’s research work has extended into DNA methylation and HYAL-4 regulation, a tumor-associated chondroitinase, and profiling of bladder and kidney cancer tissues for miRNAs and gene expression.
Academic perspective: The key reason that Dr. Lokeshwar’s laboratory is able to conduct translational research is collaborations with clinicians and laboratory researchers. These collaborations provide insight into how unmet clinical needs can be fulfilled with basic research in cell and molecular biology. Dr. Lokeshwar works closely with graduate students, residents and fellows in conducting laboratory research, so can they become well-trained and well-published productive, independent investigators.
- HA-HAase urine test: A non-invasive test that is about 90% accurate in detecting bladder cancer and monitoring its recurrence
- HA and HAase are > 85% accurate prognostic indicators for prostate cancer
- Demonstration of the function of tumor-derived HAase in bladder tumor growth and muscle invasion
Selected Cancer-Related Publications
- Hautmann S, Lokeshwar VB, Juenemann KP. [Urine-based diagnostics : An update on the Kiel Tumor Bank.] Urologe A 48:619-24, 2009. Read more »
- Shirodkar SP, Lokeshwar VB. Potential new urinary markers in the early detection of bladder cancer. Curr Opin Urol 19:488-493,2009. Read more »
- Gomez CS, Gomez P, Knapp J, Jorda M, Soloway MS, Lokeshwar VB. Hyaluronic Acid and HYAL-1 in Prostate Biopsy Specimens: Predictors of Biochemical Recurrence. J Urol 182:1350-6,2009. Read more »
Collaborating in the Multidisciplinary Research Program(s):