The Mehta Lab
|Worldwide, more than 500 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B or C viruses, which together are considered the 4th leading cause of death worldwide. It has been estimated that every minute, 2-3 people die of cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as a consequence of chronic hepatitis B infection.
Infection with hepatitis B and C, as well as other forms of liver disease such as alcohol-induced liver disease, and nonalcohol-induced steatohepatitis are characterized by pattern of chronic liver inflammation, liver cell destruction and regeneration, scaring of the liver (fibrosis) and the eventual development of liver cancer. Surprisingly, the mechanisms by which these diverse agents cause liver disease are not fully known.
Identifying who has significant liver disease is a key component to improving patient outcome. The Mehta laboratory developed a method referred to as Glycoproteomics and used this method to identify several serum biomarkers of liver disease and liver cancer. Our lab was one of the first to perform total serum glycan analysis for biomarker detection and one of the first to perform serum glycoproteomics. Through this we have identified and patented over 30 serum glycoproteins with increased levels of fucose in those with HCC. Some of the identified proteins are already being used clinically in China for the detection of HCC while others are being used in the USA to detect end stage liver disease in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Currently, our laboratory remains on the forefront in the development of tools for the analysis of complex carbohydrates and the discovery and validation of biomarkers of HCC. In addition, we are determining the role of these glycan modifications in the development and progression of liver cancer. Preliminary work has shown that the glycan modifications are associated with alterations in many cancer pathways and impact cancer cell growth and invasion. Through this work, we have identified a number of novel cancer drug targets and hope to exploit these finding in the coming years.
|Complete List of Published Work: