Sophia Ran, PhD

Professor

About

Contact
phone: 217.545.7026
sran@siumed.edu

Dr. Ran is a Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology at SIU School of Medicine and a member of the Simmons Cancer Institute. Dr. Ran is a current member of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and was a member of the Research Advisory Board of American Cancer Society, IL Division (2009-2012). She has also served on multiple grant review committees of national and international funding agencies from USA, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Canada, and UK. She currently serves as a chartered member of the Tumor Microenvironment Study Section at the National Institute of Health. She also currently serves on the Editorial Boards of several journals including Frontiers in Vascular Physiology, Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy, Pathology Discovery and others. Dr. Ran was multiple times a member of the organizing committee for the bi-annual Simmons Cancer Institute Research Symposium and served on various committees at the SIU School of Medicine.

Research Focus

Main research interest: Breast Cancer • Tumor Physiology • Tumor Angiogenesis & Hematogenous Metastasis • Tumor Lymphangiogenesis & Lymphatic Metastasis • Inflammation and Cancer • Inflammatory Lymphangiogenesis • Lymphatic Endothelial Cell Progenitors • Tumor Models in vivo • Tumor Associated Macrophages • Chemotherapy & Chemoresistance • TLR4 Role in Cancer Progression and Metastasis

Main Projects

It is well known that metastasis is the main cause of mortality from cancer. Metastases are secondary tumors formed in organs other than the primary site. The goal of my lab is to delineate mechanisms that promote metastasis, a process that typically involves invasion of blood or lymphatic vessels located either near the tumor (i.e., peritumoral) or inside the tumor mass (i.e., intratumoral). In breast cancer and many other epithelial malignancies, tumor cells first establish colonies in lymph nodes prior to spreading to other organs. Lymphatic metastasis is strongly enhanced by generation of new lymphatic vessels, a complex process that my laboratory seeks to understand on the molecular, cellular, and systemic levels. We recently discovered that this process is primarily driven by tumor-mobilized immature myeloid cells that upon exposure to inflammatory stimuli differentiate towards lymphatic endothelial precursors dubbed M-LECP (Monocyte-derived Lymphatic Endothelial Cell Progenitors). M-LECP promote tumor lymphatics by both production of lymphangiogenic factors and structural contribution to the nascent vessels. The ability of tumors to recruit monocytes and differentiate them into M-LECP appears to directly relate to metastatic potential and correlate with resistance to therapy. We also recently discovered (PMID 25274031) that a commonly used anti-cancer drug paclitaxel has unexpected capacity to activate tumor epithelial cells and macrophages via Toll-like Receptor-4 (TLR4). Activation of this highly inflammatory pathway in malignant and tumor-associated cells protects tumor cells from chemotherapy and helps generating new vasculature with the help of monocyte-derived endothelial progenitor cells. We expect that these studies will advance understanding of generation of new tumor vessels which, in turn, will promote development of new anti-metastatic drugs.

General Laboratory Techniques

Cell culture of human and mouse tumor epithelial cell lines; generation of stably transfected cell lines; tissue culture of primary endothelial cells, bone marrow-derived monocytes, and macrophages; directional migration assays; real-time PCR and in-house construction of gene profiling arrays; protein analysis on western blot; growth of hybridoma lines, isolation and characterization of monoclonal antibodies; ELISA; luciferase-based reporter assays; immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry; tissue and cell imaging; flow cytometry; analysis of animal models of breast cancer and metastasis

Education

School: 
1991-1992 Postdoctoral training in Cellular Physiology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, 1989-1991 Postdoctoral training in Ion Transport, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 1984-1989 Ph.D. in Biochemistry, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, 1981-1983 M.S. in Immunology, Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel, 1979-1981 B.S. in Biology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Patents

  1. Patent number 8,709,430 (March 4, 2014). Cancer treatment kits comprising therapeutic antibody conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
  2. Patent number 8,486,391 (March 6, 2014). Cancer treatment kits using antibodies to aminophospholipids.
  3. Patent number 7,906,115 (March 15, 2011). Combinations kits and methods for treating viral infections using antibodies and immunoconjugates to aminophospholipids.
  4. Patent number 7,790,860 (September 7, 2010). Targeting and imaging tumor vasculature using conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
  5. Patent number 7,790,159 (September 7, 2010). Methods, combinations and kits for treating viral infections using immunoconjugates and antibodies to aminophospholipids.
  6. Patent number 7,714,109 (May 11, 2010). Combinations and kits for cancer treatment using selected antibodies to aminophospholipids.
  7. Patent number 7,678,386 (March 16, 2010). Liposomes coated with selected antibodies that bind to aminophospholipids.
  8. Patent number 7,625,563 (December 01, 2009). Cancer treatment using selected immunoconjugates for binding to aminophospholipids.
  9. Patent number 7,622,118 (November 24, 2009). Cancer treatment methods using selected antibodies to aminophospholipids.
  10. Patent number 7,615,223 (November 10, 2009). Selected immunoconjugates for binding to aminophospholipids.
  11. Patent number 7,611,704 (November 03, 2009). Compositions and methods for treating viral infections using antibodies and immunoconjugates to aminophospholipids.
  12. Patent number 7,572,448 (August 11, 2009). Combined cancer treatment methods using selected antibodies to aminophospholipids.
  13. Patent number 7,572,442 (August 11, 2009). Selected antibody compositions for binding to aminophospholipids.
  14. Patent number 7,550,141 (June 23, 2009). Methods for imaging tumor vasculature using conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
  15. Patent number 7,455,833 (November 25, 2008). Methods and compositions for treating viral infections using antibodies and immunoconjugates to aminophospholipids.
  16. Patent number 7,422,738 (September 9, 2008). Combined cancer treatment methods using antibodies to aminophospholipids.
  17. Patent number 7,247,303 (July 24, 2007). Selected antibody CDRs for binding to aminophospholipids.
  18. Patent number 7,067,109 (June 27, 2006). Cancer treatment kits comprising therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
  19. Patent number 6,818,213 (November 16, 2004). Cancer treatment compositions comprising therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
  20. Patent number 6,783,760 (August 31, 2004). Combined cancer treatment methods using therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
  21. Patent number 6,406,693 (June 18, 2002). Cancer treatment methods using antibodies to aminophospholipids.
  22. Patent number 6,312,694 (November 06, 2001). Cancer treatment methods using therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.

Tabs