Nikia A. Laurie, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program, Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is also a Member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago, Illinois.
Elucidating the Molecular Mechanisms of Retinoblastoma Progression
Retinoblastoma, the most common pediatric cancer of the eye, is a devastating and sometimes fatal pediatric cancer. Within the United States, the majority of retinoblastoma patients are diagnosed before their 2nd birthday, and many lose their sight due to this disease. Outside of the United States, advanced retinoblastoma is an even greater clinical challenge in developing countries, where the mortality rate among children diagnosed with advanced metastatic retinoblastoma is as high as 80%.
Our laboratory mission is to understand the molecular mechanisms associated with retinoblastoma progression in order to facilitate the identification of novel therapeutic targets. We are accomplishing our mission by studying both genetic and epigenetic changes that occur during retinoblastoma progression in human retinoblastoma tumors, and in retinoblastoma model systems. Defining these changes is particularly valuable for the purposes of identifying novel targets for chemotherapeutic interventions.