Research Projects and Interests

Cancer Stem Cells in Multiple Myeloma

The ongoing research in the Crews Lab aims to investigate the function of cancer stem cells in multiple myeloma progression and relapse. In recent work with the Jamieson Laboratory, we have identified a role for inflammation responsive pathways in the acquisition of drug resistance and stem cell-like behavior of malignant cells in multiple myeloma. Dr. Crews is also pioneering novel myeloma stem cell-targeted RNA detection tools with the overall goal of developing new regenerative medicine technologies that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of human cancers and other age-related disorders.

Translational Research for Multiple Myeloma Therapy

With over 30,000 new cases predicted in 2017, multiple myeloma represents the second most common blood cancer in the U.S. It remains incurable due to drug-resistant dormant cancer stem cells that promote relapse mediated by inflammatory cues from the bone marrow microenvironment. Our projects investigate inflammation-responsive pathway deregulation as a predictor of multiple myeloma drug resistance, and we are testing novel targeted therapeutics to modulate these vital stem cell regulatory pathways. These studies will advance our understanding of multiple myeloma biology and facilitate development of new therapies to reduce disease relapse for patients with multiple myeloma and other therapeutically recalcitrant cancers.

Regenerative Medicine

Stem cells and cancer represent two sides of the same coin. It would be impossible to fully harness the therapeutic potential of stem cells without a deep understanding of the molecular nuances that determine whether a stem cell will behave in a benign or malignant way. Developments in our lab's cancer research efforts will also lay the foundation for innovative strategies to repair tissue damage in age-related disease and injury. The stem cell regulatory pathways that we study have relevant applications in regenerating blood, liver, brain, and other human cell types.

Our research is currently or has been previously supported by these generous funding organizations: