Professor of Pediatrics Indiana University School of Medicine- South Bend
Adjunct Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame
Vascular mediation of tissue development, repair, and tumor growth
The Schwarz lab uses transgenic mice, three dimensional cell culture, in vivo tumor, and lung developmental models to determine mechanisms by which the vasculature regulates cancer progression and alveolar formation.
Our main interests are the role that the anti-angiogenic mediator Endothelial Monocyte Activating Polypeptide II (EMAP II, also known as AIMP-1, Scye-1, and p43) has in lung and tumor development. On the cell surface, EMAP II undergoes proteolytic cleavage to generate an extracellular »22-kDa C-terminal peptide that functions as an anti-angiogenic protein through inhibition of endothelial cell adhesion to fibronectin, blockade of fibronectin matrix assembly via a5b1 integrin, and interference with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induced pro-angiogenic signaling.
Earlier studies identified a direct interaction between vascular growth factors and the regulation of tissue formation. Using pulmonary developmental models, we have shown that vascular growth factors can also impact epithelial –mesenchymal transdifferentiation, extracellular matrix deposition, and airway simplification resulting in physiologic changes in pulmonary function. Currently, our studies focus on the mechanisms that modulate pulmonary vascular growth and the subsequent impact that the vasculature has on alveolar growth by examining vessel mediation of interstitial lung disease, deposition of the extracellular matrix protein, and epithelial cell proliferation.
By using a pancreatic cancer models (intraperitoneal and subQ), targeted multi-drug therapy strategies are utilized to determine the role that anti-angiogenic factors alone and in combination with chemotherpeutic agents have in regulating tumor cell proliferation and microenvironment including the dense tumor stromal layer, extracellular matrix deposition and vessel formation. Recent studies utilizing this strategy demonstrated that this multi-target approach is effective and superior to current conventional chemotherapeutic strategies.