Joe GN Garcia
The Garcia laboratory works to understand the molecular mechanisms of lung inflammatory processes, particularly those producing lung edema or vascular leak. The laboratory focus is to investigate gene discovery, protein function assessment, SNP discovery, genetic manipulation, in vivo testing, and candidate gene and biomarker identification, working to translate basic research into potential novel clinical therapies.
Dr. Garcia is an authority on the genetic basis of inflammatory lung disease (with an emphasis on health disparities) and on the mechanistic basis of lung vascular permeability. Using bench-to-bedside approaches, his lab has explored novel methods to prevent vascular leak and to restore endothelial cell barrier function and vascular integrity. This expertise in lung inflammation and vascular permeability provides a natural linkage to interrogation of lung vascular contribution to the development of lung metastases. Leveraging their genomic expertise, in recent years, Dr. Garcia's lab has identified vascular genes whose products are key participants in inflammatory lung injury that also play a role in cancer development. They have developed lung endothelial inflammatory gene expression profiles as well as diagnostic gene signatures influenced by MYLK and NAMPT that impact lung and breast cancer prognosis. This work with NAMPT led to development of a therapeutic NAMPT neutralizing antibody that has shown promise in treating lung cancer, melanoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Finally, Dr. Garcia's lab is also interested in the untoward effect of thoracic radiation and has been examining strategies designed to attenuate radiation–induced pneumonits, fibrosis and vascular leak. These collaborative and highly translational cancer research efforts have bolstered the overall mission of the University of Arizona Cancer Center.