CMRC Children's Memorial Research Center
Mirkin Laboratory


Mirkin Laboratory  (Cancer Biology and Chemotherapy Group)
The overriding theme of our research program focuses on identification and characterization of the biological processes that underlie development of drug resistance in neoplastic cells.  Findings in this laboratory and elsewhere have shown that the adaptation of malignant cells to stressful environments, such as cytotoxic drugs, x-radiation or nutrient deprivation, elicits cellular responses that lead to the development of drug resistance, allowing cells to survive under the most noxious conditions.  The systems and mechanisms that cells utilize to establish resistance to chemotherapeutic agents are extremely diverse.  Frequently, the sustained viability of a cell is assured by the expression of redundant survival mechanisms to a common stimulus.  The complex interaction of so many different factors in the development of drug resistance has created a maze through which fundamental investigations in cancer biology, as well as those in clinical oncology, must traverse.
The heterogeneity of defense mechanisms that can be elicited and established by neoplastic cells have made it essential to establish a broadly based multidisciplinary program which has the capability of identifying humoral cell survival factors secreted by drug resistant cells, signal transduction pathways utilized by drug resistant cells, and genetic aberrations associated with drug resistance so that the molecular mechanisms underlying each of these adaptive processes can be defined.