Dr. Sandro Santagata is a neuropathologist focused on discovering new diagnostic markers for meningioma as well as identifying new molecular targets for cancer treatment. His research involves collaboration with the BWH Pathology Department, the Whitehead Institute, and the Broad Institute.
A central focus in developing modern cancer treatments is the goal of targeting specific components of pathways that are aberrantly activated through mutations or changing positions. Despite the dependence of cancer cells on such pathways, the survival of these cells is also critically dependent upon non-mutated, non-oncogene systems that serve fundamental roles in cell survival. These non-oncogene targets offer different treatment options aimed at common and unusual biological requirement of cancer cells rather than at individual oncogeni lesions. Dr. Santagata’s team is working to identify fundamental non-oncgene targets of meningioma. These factors will help gain insight into the biology of meningioma formation and proliferation, will serve as useful diagnostic markers, and may shed light on new mechanisms for developing treatments.
A number of studies have used gene expression profiling to investigate the biology of meningiomas with a particular focus on identifying markers and mediators of tumor progression. Identification of transcription factors, however, strikingly has been overlooked. Meningioma transcription factors could serve as both excellent diagnostic tools in addition to sensitive targets for treatment intervention. Dr. Santagata team’s goal is to identify the transcription factors that are central to the core transcriptional identity of meningothelial cells and meningioma, which would provide both important diagnostic tools and new insights into innovative approaches for selective treatments for meningioma.