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Researcher | Research Overview

Bruce Zetter is a pioneer in understanding how cell movement affects tumor metastasis. In 1980, he made the key discovery that interferon alpha, which inhibits viral proliferation, also inhibits the locomotion of endothelial cells necessary for angiogenesis. His work led to the use of interferon alpha to treat hemangiomas.

Dr. Zetter's laboratory's current focus is on tumor metastasis and on identifying diagnostic and prognostic markers that can guide treatment decisions, including a new prognostic marker for prostate cancer. Specifically, the investigators are looking at:

  • The mechanisms used by cancer cells to spread or metastasize to distant sites.
  • The genetic, molecular and cellular changes that occur as tumors undergo progression from benign to aggressive.
  • The development of new markers for the diagnosis and prognosis of human cancers.
  • The development of novel therapeutic treatments for metastatic human cancers.

The Zetter lab has developed a panel of markers to predict which tumors are likely to metastasize or to have already produced metastatic colonies. The prototype for this type of molecule is thymosin Beta-15, which stimulates cell migration and promotes metastasis in prostate cancer cells. Tumors in which thymosin Beta-15 cannot be detected are unlikely to develop metastases and may not warrant aggressive treatment, while those expressing thymosin B -15 are more likely to have disseminated metastases and are candidates for aggressive systemic therapy.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Zetter received a PhD from the University of Rhode Island. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at MIT and at the Salk Institute in San Diego. He has received numerous national and international awards for his work in the field of cancer research, including a Faculty Research Award from the American Cancer Society and the MERIT award from the US National Cancer Institute.

Researcher | Publications