Research Assistant Professor
Van Andel Research Institute
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Seeking to develop novel strategies to reduce drug resistance and metastasis in aggressive breast cancers.
Laboratory studies are conducted to test a new drug target for combination therapy in triple negative breast cancers.
This research may identify predictive biomarkers of response to targeted therapies and novel new combination approaches to counter drug resistance and prevent metastasis.
For a tumor to spread (a process called metastasis), tumor cells must be able to break through tissue barriers, enter the circulation, and become established in a new site. To achieve these steps, a tumor cell must acquire unique physical and molecular properties.
The research team of Drs. Vande Woude, Graveel and Tsarfaty have combined several unique laboratory models to evaluate how the Met oncogene influences breast cancer metastasis, metabolism, and drug resistance in HER2+ and triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). Their recent studies have identified potential combination approaches that could reduce drug resistance and prevent metastasis in these diseases.
The research team continues to study the role of Met in progression of HER2+ and triple negative breast cancer using a combination of novel imaging techniques and mathematical models, and plans to test combination therapies against TNBC progression and metastasis in patient-derived TNBC models.
This research will enable development of novel molecular and imaging signatures, identify predictive biomarkers in patients who are responsive to Met-targeted therapies, and lead to the development of novel combination therapies.
Dr. Carrie R. Graveel earned her PhD. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002. She then served as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. George Vande Woude at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) from 2002-2007. In 2007, Dr. Graveel became a Research Scientist and in 2010 was promoted to Senior Research Scientist. In 2011, Dr. Graveel became an Instructor in the VAI Graduate School and in 2013 was named a Research Assistant Professor in VARI. Dr. Graveel’s work was the first to determine that a mutationally activated receptor tyrosine kinase (MET) can induce diverse tumors in vivo. In 2009, she was the first to demonstrate that the MET oncogene plays a critical role in triple-negative breast cancer and may be an attractive target for clinical treatment. Recently, her laboratory demonstrated that MET may play a role in therapeutic resistance of HER2+ breast cancers. Currently, her work focuses on how receptor tyrosine kinase signaling networks drive tumor progression and can be leveraged to develop effective therapeutic strategies for triple-negative breast cancer patients.