Fenghuang Zhan, MD, PhD

Internal Medicine

Office: 3269A CBRB
Office Phone: 319-384-0066

Lab: 3257 MERF

Our group focuses on translational research in multiple myeloma (MM), a human blood cancer

Multiple myeloma is considered a largely incurable disease. Cancer cells find ways to adapt to low-dose therapies and resistant clones emerge. The main emphasis of our research is to identify treatment approaches to overcome drug resistance in myeloma. Using gene expression profile (GEP), we identified a drug resistant gene NEK2. Our study on this Project address whether increased NEK2 expression results in chromosomal instability (CIN) of myeloma cells by performing GEP for the 10 CIN genes shown to be related to drug resistance, by performing array CGH to evaluate increases in relative over-or under-expression of parts of chromosomes, by confirming the array CGH findings with FISH analysis for the critical gene loci, and by performing spectral karyotyping to evaluate if higher NEK2 expression results in increases in subtle translocations, compared with baseline from primary myeloma samples. Another approach is to explore how dysregulation of NEK2 induces tumor development and progression in myeloma using transgenic and knockout mouse models. Finally, we evaluate whether drug resistance can be overcome by interfering with the function of NEK2. In the next a few years, we should be able to identify the optimal drug(s) to interfere with NEK2 function. Inhibition of the function of NEK2 is an entirely novel approach to deal with drug-resistance and should be relevant not only to myeloma, but also to many other cancers. Another major project in our laboratory is to identify myeloma stem cells using mouse models, primary myeloma samples, and myeloma cell lines. Our long term goal in this project is to develop novel treatments to eliminate myeloma stem cells.

In summary, my projects focus on topic such as: genes and drug resistance, molecular genetics and biology of myeloma, genomic classification of myeloma, and identification and targeting myeloma stem cells.

PubMed link

Department/Program Affiliations:
Internal Medicine
Molecular Medicine