Alana L. Welm

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Development and preclinical testing of new cancer therapies is limited by the scarcity of in vivo models that authentically reproduce tumor growth and metastatic progression. We report new models for breast tumor growth and metastasis in the form of transplantable tumors derived directly from individuals undergoing treatment for breast cancer. These tumor(More)
Reversal of promoter DNA hypermethylation and associated gene silencing is an attractive cancer therapy approach. The DNA methylation inhibitors decitabine and azacitidine are efficacious for hematological neoplasms at lower, less toxic, doses. Experimentally, high doses induce rapid DNA damage and cytotoxicity, which do not explain the prolonged time to(More)
A better understanding of tumor metastasis requires development of animal models that authentically reproduce the metastatic process. By modifying an existing mouse model of breast cancer, we discovered that macrophage-stimulating protein promoted breast tumor growth and metastasis to several organs. A special feature of our findings was the occurrence of(More)
The mouse mammary gland is the only epithelial organ capable of complete regeneration upon orthotopic transplantation, making it ideally suited for in vivo gene function studies through viral-mediated gene delivery. A hurdle that has challenged the widespread adoption of this technique has been the inability to transduce mammary stem cells effectively. We(More)
In human breast cancer, overexpression of the protooncogene MET is strongly associated with poor prognosis and high risk of metastasis. It stands out as a reliable prognostic indicator of survival and defines a set of tumors exclusive of those that express HER2 or hormone receptors. Studies have shown that overexpression of mutant forms of MET cause cancer(More)
Many "nonmetastatic" cancers have spawned undetectable metastases before diagnosis. Eventual outgrowth of these microscopic lesions causes metastatic relapse and death, yet the events that dictate when and how micrometastases convert to overt metastases are largely unknown. We report that macrophage-stimulating protein and its receptor, Ron, are key(More)
Netrin-4, a laminin-related secreted protein is an axon guidance cue recently shown essential outside of the nervous system, regulating mammary and lung morphogenesis as well as blood vascular development. Here, we show that Netrin-4, at physiologic doses, induces proliferation, migration, adhesion, tube formation and survival of human lymphatic endothelial(More)
The survivin protein contains structural features of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family. Previous studies have suggested that survivin is essential for cell survival because it counteracts an otherwise constitutive propensity to apoptosis during mitosis. In addition, survivin appears to be a component of the chromosomal passenger protein complex that(More)
Programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4) has been described as a tumor suppressor, with high expression correlating with better outcomes in a number of cancer types. Yet a substantial number of cancer patients with high PDCD4 in tumors have poor survival, suggesting that oncogenic pathways may inhibit or change PDCD4 function. Here, we explore the significance of(More)
Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are aggressive and lack targeted therapies. Understanding how nutrients are used in TNBCs may provide new targets for therapeutic intervention. We demonstrate that the transcription factor c-Myc drives glucose metabolism in TNBC cells but does so by a previously unappreciated mechanism that involves direct repression(More)