About Our Research

Balk Lab group members posing for a photoDr. Balk’s laboratory conducts basic and translational research in cancer biology, with a focus on prostate cancer and the proteins and pathways that are critical for tumor development and progression. A major effort has been to understand the role of the androgen receptor (AR), a steroid hormone receptor that is highly expressed and critical for the growth of most prostate cancers. Dr. Balk and his colleagues have identified several mechanisms by which prostate cancer cells escape standard androgen-deprivation therapies and progress to lethal castration-resistant prostate cancers. One of their long-term objectives is to develop new therapies that more effectively target AR prevent the emergence of castration resistance. Dr. Balk’s lab is also pursuing additional approaches to treat prostate cancer, including therapies that target certain kinases and apoptotic pathways, WNT pathway signaling, and immunotherapy. For men with early stage prostate cancer, the lab is studying molecular features that may distinguish men with indolent prostate cancer who can be observed versus those who need treatment, and is studying neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapies for the latter group. Finally, the lab is developing patient derived xenograft and organoid models of prostate cancer for further study.

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