Dr. Dalit Barkan

Senior Lecturer

Department of Human Biology

Email: dalitbrk@gmail.com

Phone: 972-4-8280761

Research interest

Breast cancer that appears and distant organs years after initial treatment also known as metastasis, is the deadliest type of breast cancer recurrence and is associated with a dismal prognosis. Recent evidence indicates that dissemination of tumor cells from the primary breast tumor to secondary sites and organs is an early event in the disease process leading to metastatic recurrence. These disseminated tumor cells may reside in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and blood circulation of breast cancer patients and lie dormant (as non-dividing cells). They do not respond to chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments, which target actively dividing cells, and cannot be detected with current diagnostic imaging, lingering in the body as ticking time bombs. Hence, the continuous presence of disseminated dormant tumor cells, even after treatment, may account in part for the latency and subsequent outgrowth of the cells years or decades after initial diagnosis. Unfortunately, to date there are no treatments to target these hibernating dormant tumor cells to prevent cancer from recurring given that the mechanisms underlying tumor dormancy and their switch to deadly metastases are still largely unknown. We have developed the first in vitro and complementary in vivo system to study tumor dormancy and outgrowth. By utilizing these systems our lab investigates potential strategies to prevent and or treat recurrent metastatic disease: 1) Maintain the residual disease in a dormant state A) Targeting the outbreaking dormant tumor cells read more… B) Targeting the microenvironment supporting outgrowth read more… 2) Promote tumor dormancy by normalizing the malignant phenotype