Pharmacology and Toxicology - Research

Marxa Figueiredo, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Research Interests

Our lab in interested in the response of prostate and head and neck cancer cells to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis signals, with the goal of developing novel strategies with therapeutic potential for cancer. Current research focuses on developing new molecular strategies for halting the growth of cancer cells, using several methods to deliver cytokine therapy targeted at modifying the biology of both cancer cells and their malignant interactions with the tumor microenvironment (stroma, bone). We focus on cytokine therapies with apoptotic and antiangiogenic mechanisms of action. Our therapeutic strategies include Adenoviral vectors for transcriptionally-targeted therapy, and Adult adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells and Sonoporation (ultrasound delivery) to deliver cytokines to tumors. We also utilize modern optical and other modalities of noninvasive molecular imaging to detect therapy delivery and efficacy in vivo. Finally, our lab develops several in vivo cancer models (xenograft and transgenic) to examine the relevance of therapies to different stages of tumorigenesis and metastasis, which could yield important breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer.

Selected Publications

Grove, A, Figueiredo, ML, Galeone, A, Mayol, L, and Geiduschek, EP. Twin hydroxymethyluracil-A base pair steps define the binding site for the DNA-binding protein TF1. Journal of Biological Chemistry.1997, May 16; 272 (20): 13084-2.

Figueiredo, ML, Kim, Y, St-John, MAR, and Wong, DTW. p12CDK2AP1 Gene Therapy Strategy Inhibits Tumor Growth in an In Vivo Mouse Model of Head and Neck Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research. 2005. May 15; 11 (10): 3939-48.

Kim, Y, Ohyama, H, Patel, V, Figueiredo, ML, and Wong, DTW. Mutation of Cys inhibits dimerization of p12CDK2AP1 and its growth suppressor effect. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2005, 280 (24): 23273-23279.

Figueiredo, ML, Dayan, S, Kim, Y., McBride, J, Kupper, TS, and Wong, DTW. Expression of Cell Cycle Regulator p12CDK2AP1 In Transgenic Mice Induces Testicular and Ovarian Atrophy in vivo. Molecular Reproduction and Development. 2006. Aug;73(8): 987-997.

Figueiredo, ML, Wentworth, K., and Sandgren, EP. Quantifying Growth and Transformation Frequency of Oncogene-expressing Hepatocytes In vivo. Hepatology. 2010 In Press.

Sato, M, Figueiredo, ML, Chen, MN, Huyn, S, and Wu, L. Configurations of a two-tiered amplified gene expression system in adenoviral vectors designed to improve the specificity of in vivo prostate cancer imaging. Gene Therapy. 2008 Apr;15(8):583-93

Zolochevska, O and Figueiredo, ML. Expression of cell cycle regulator cdk2ap1 suppresses tumor cell phenotype by non-cell autonomous mechanisms. Oral Oncology. 2009 Sep;45(9):e106-12. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

Zolochevska, O and Figueiredo, ML. Cell cycle regulator cdk2ap1 inhibits prostate cancer cell growth and modifies androgen-responsive pathway function. Prostate. 2009 Oct 1;69(14):1586-97.

Karanikolas, BDW, Figueiredo, ML, and L Wu. Polycomb Group Protein EZH2 is an Oncogene that Promotes the Neoplastic Transformation of a Benign Prostatic Epithelial Cell Line. Molecular Cancer Research. 2009 Sep;7(9):1456-65.

Cheng, H, Feng, JM, Figueiredo, ML, Zhang, H, Nelson, PL, Marigo, V and Beck, V. Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin type 7 channel is critical for the survival of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cells and Development. 2009. Nov 23 [Epub ahead of print].

Karanikolas, BDW, Figueiredo, ML, and Wu , L. Comprehensive Evaluation of the Role of EZH2 in the Growth, Invasion, and Aggression of a Panel of Prostate Cancer Cell Lines. Prostate. 2010 May 1;70(6):675-88.

Figueiredo, ML, Wentworth, K., and Sandgren, EP. Quantifying Growth and Transformation Frequency of Oncogene-expressing Hepatocytes In vivo. Hepatology 2010 Aug;52(2):634-43.

Zolochevska, O and Figueiredo, ML. Novel tumor growth inhibition mechanism by cell cycle regulator cdk2ap1 involves modulation of anti-angiogenesis. Microvasc Res. 2010 Jun 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Zolochevska, O and Figueiredo, ML. Cell cycle regulators cdk2ap1 and bicalutamide suppress malignant biological interactions between prostate cancer and bone cells. Prostate. 2010, In Press.

Figueiredo, ML, Stein TJ, Jochem, A, and Sandgren, EP. Mutant Hras and Kras have overlapping but non-identical effects on hepatocyte growth and transformation frequency in transgenic mice. Submitted (Cancer Research).

Nelson, P, Zolochevska, O, Figueiredo, ML, Hsu, W, Soliman, A, Feng, JM, Zhang, H, and Cheng, H. Characterization of transient receptor potential melastatin 4 in glucagon secreting alpha-cells. Accepted, Molecular Cell Endocrinology.