Alejandro Sweet-Cordero, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Stanford University School of Medicine

Phone: (650) 725 5901

Lab Contact Information:
265 Campus Drive
LLSCR Building, Rm. G2078b
Stanford, CA, 94305
Phone: (650) 736 2753
Fax : 650 736 0195

Reseach Overview

Our laboratory focuses on the analysis of pathways involved in the initiation, progression, and maintenance of cancer. We use genetically engineered mouse models and primary human tumor samples to interrogate specific tumor types and understand key aspects of their biology. We rely on functional genomic approaches including microarrays and high-throughput shRNA screens to identify genes that are relevant to cancer pathogenesis and treatment. We have found cross-species genomic analysis to be a particularly useful tool to identify and characterize novel critical regulators of oncogenesis. For example, using a cross-species functional genomic approach we have identified a synthetic lethal interaction between oncogenic Kras and loss of the Wt1 gene (Vicent et al. 2010). We have also identified a novel cross-talk mechanism between cancer-associated fibroblasts and tumor cells, underscoring the utility of mouse models to study the cancer microenvironment (Vicent et al. 2012).

Increasing evidence suggests that at least some tumors contain sub-populations of cells with increased ability to transplant and re-initiate tumorigenesis. We are particularly interested in determining whether these "cancer stem cells" or "tumor re-initiating cells" play a role in driving chemoresistance in vivo. Current work in the laboratory is seeking to identify CSCs in lung cancer and osteosarcoma and to characterize pathways that drive their self-renewal.

Our work currently focuses primarily on lung cancer and pediatric bone sarcomas. We have developed one of the first models for activation of the EWS/FLI-1 oncogene in a murine model system and are currently testing this system for identification of critical regulators of EWS/FLI-1 driven oncogenesis. We are also part of a developing effort in the pediatric oncology division in collaboration with the department of genetics to develop "personalized genomics" approaches for care of patients with advanced or relapsed sarcomas.

Current research efforts are focused on:

  • • pediatric sarcomas

  • • lung cancer pathogenesis

  • • oncogenic Kras signaling

  • • chemotherapy resistance

A more detailed description of current research projects can be found in the research section.