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About Mary Alpaugh

My research focuses predominantly on the molecular mechanisms of intravasation, the rate-limiting step of metastasis, and resistance/susceptibility of lymphovascular emboli to therapeutics. 
 
Metastasis poses the single most difficult clinical challenge in the attempt to manage and treat cancer.  In this effort, I have established patient-derived xenografts, significantly the first (and only) human transplantable inflammatory breast cancer xenograft, called MARY-X.  Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer; nearly 100% of all women with IBC have lymph node involvement and 25% have distant metastases upon diagnosis.  The signature phenotype of IBC is florid lymphovascular invasion of cancer emboli.  Whereas most human xenografts grow as a subcutaneous confluent cellular mass, MARY-X grows exclusively in the murine lymphatic and blood vessels, recapitulating the phenotype displayed in human IBC and in essence providing both a preclinical IBC model and a relevant model of metastasis.MARY-X, in vitro, is a primary cellular derivative from tumor explants. These tumor cells spontaneously form tight, compact aggregates of cells termed “MARY-X spheroids”. Comparable to human IBC emboli, a persistent, over-expression of an intact E-cadherin/α, β-catenin axis mediates the compaction of both in vitro and in vivo MARY-X spheroids and tumor emboli, respectively.The in vitro MARY-X spheroid has comparative 3-dimensional (3-D) architectural/pathophysiological features to the lymphovascular embolus. Therefore MARY-X provides a relevant 3D in vitro analysis platform for drug design and development of IBC and metastatic disease i.e. the lympovascular embolus.
 
Overall, my research is focused on the development of efficacious cancer therapeutic strategies.  Additionally to my above work, I have also developed an ex vivo response technique of patient-derived primary tumors and/or associated metastases that has been successfully implemented in the preclinical and clinical setting of drug development.  Implementation of this technique coupled with an ‘omic’ profile is an attempt to identify the ‘extraordinary’ responder in a prospective manner; as a step towards a personalized/precision medicine approach in therapeutic development strategies. 

Positions

2016 - Present Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Rowan University College of Science & Mathematics
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2006 - 2016 Visiting Investigator, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ‐ Department of Surgery
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2004 - 2009 Assistant Professor, City College of New York ‐ Biology Department
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Curriculum Vitae




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Honors and Awards

  • Founder, President and CEO, Athlos Biopharma (start-up biotech company), 2016
  • Five patents (granted 2002 - 2015)

Courses

  • Bioethics
  • Foundations in Biology for Biomedical Sciences I

Education

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1999 PhD, University of Houston ‐ Biochemistry
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1988 BS, Kings College ‐ Biology and Philosophy
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Recent Works (4)

Research Works (6)