Nicholas Cacalano, PhD
Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology
Dr. Cacalano was recruited to UCLA in 2001. In 1991 he received his PhD at Columbia University, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (1992-1995), and at the DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto, CA (1995-2001).
Cacalano Research Interests
Dr. Cacalano is interested in the molecular mechanisms of cytokine and growth factor receptor signal transduction, and understanding how dysregulated signaling results in human diseases such as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) and radioresistant cancers. His labs main interests include epigenetic silencing of Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling (SOCS) genes in pancreatic, brain and lung cancer and how repression of SOCS expression contributes to tumor initiation, expansion, and metastasis. Dr. Cacalano’s lab has developed orthotopic xenograft animal models for the study of pancreatic cancer, medulloblastoma, and brain metastatic lung cancer. These models are currently being used to probe the role of the Jak-STAT signaling pathway in tumor growth and a novel pathway involving STAT3, SOCS3 and the chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL2 which is involved in metastatic pancreatic cancer via autocrine effects on tumor growth and radiation resistance as well as indirect effects via recruitment of tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) to the tumor microenvironment. The laboratory also uses animal models to assess the efficacy of novel epidermal growth factor (EGFR) receptor inhibitors that cross the blood-brain barrier for the treatment of brain metastatic lung cancer, which may be developed to treat underserved patient populations with brain lesions.