Aaron LeBeau, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Aaron LeBeau

Contact Info

alebeau@umn.edu

Office Phone 612-301-7231

Office Address:
NHH 3-104

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology


PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Summary

Research

Research Summary/Interests

Proteases play important roles in the regulation of biological processes in the human body. The enzymatic activity of proteases under normal conditions is tightly regulated by the presence of endogenous inhibitors, compartmental sequestration, and decreased gene expression. In cancer, proteases often become overexpressed or poorly regulated resulting in heightened peritumoral proteolytic activity. Membrane-bound and secreted proteases are known to promote tumorigenesis, cancer progression and metastasis. These cancer-associated proteases represent targets that cancer be exploited for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Our laboratory is centered on the development of novel agents to “see and treat” cancer by selectively targeting specific classes of cancer-associated proteases.

We are primarily focused on imaging and treating castration-resistant prostate cancer and triple-negative breast cancer by using small-molecule and antibody-based inhibitors of proteases. For imaging applications, our inhibitors can be labeled with fluorophores for near-infrared optical imaging or with radioisotopes for positron-emission tomography (PET) nuclear imaging. These probes allow for the non-invasive imaging of active proteases in xenograft mouse models of human cancer and genetically engineered mouse models that recreate tumorigenesis, angiogenesis and metastasis. Our inhibitors can be administered as therapeutics either alone or coupled to alpha or beta-emitting radioisotopes for radiotherapy. Additionally, we are also interested in developing novel human antibody phage display libraries from clinical samples for biomarker identification and personalized medicine.

Publications