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Sunnybrook Research Institute

Stanley K. Liu, PhD, MD, FRCPC

Scientist

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave., Room T2 142
Toronto, ON
M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-4998
Fax: 416-480-6002

Administrative Assistant: Stacy Yuen
Phone: 416-480-4998
Email: stacy.yuen@sunnybrook.ca

Education:

  • B.Sc. (Hons), biochemistry, Queen's University, Canada
  • PhD, cell and molecular biology, medical biophysics, University of Toronto, Canada
  • MD, U of T
  • FRCPC, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, University of Oxford, U.K.

Appointments and affiliations:

  • Scientist, Biological SciencesOdette Cancer Research Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Radiation oncologist, department of radiation oncology, Sunnybrook
  • Assistant professor, department of medical biophysics, U of T
  • Assistant professor, department of radiation oncology, U of T

Research areas:

  • MicroRNA and radiation response
  • Angiopoietin-1/Tie2 and radiotherapy

Research summary:

The aim of Dr. Liu's research is to improve treatment outcomes for cancer patients by uncovering the mechanisms of tumour radiation resistance. More than 50% of cancer patients will receive radiotherapy sometime during their treatment; thus, it is important to research ways to improve the efficacy of this treatment.

To accomplish this our lab is investigating the following:

1. MicroRNA (miRNA) that are involved in the radiation response

MicroRNA are short, noncoding RNA that can regulate the expression of downstream genes. Their expression patterns are changed in response to ionizing radiation, but their role in radiation response is unclear. Our lab has identified miRNA-95 as a novel mediator of tumour radiation resistance that targets the sphingosine-1-phosphate pathway. We are elucidating the mechanism of several candidate miRNA that are involved in mediating cellular response to radiation. Additionally, to aid in personalized treatment decisions, we are investigating miRNA expression levels as predictive biomarkers for tumour aggression.

2. The Angiopoietin-1/ Tie2 pathway to minimize toxicity from radiation treatment

Damage to blood vessels resulting from radiotherapy is believed to limit delivery of oxygen and nutrients to normal tissues. Thus, protection of the vasculature against irradiation-induced death may minimize radiation toxicity. Vasculotide is a clinically ready peptide mimic of angiopoietin-1, which was developed in the lab of Dr. Dan Dumont. It is well tolerated and has been shown to prevent vascular dysfunction in several benign pathologies. We are applying this in an entirely novel context—to improve the therapeutic ratio of radiotherapy by protecting the vasculature and angiogenic potential, thereby decreasing radiation toxicity delivered to normal tissues.

Selected publications:

See current publications list at PubMed.

  1. Korpela E, Yohan D, Chin LC, Kim A, Huan X, Sade S, van Slyke P, Dumont DJ, Liu SK. Vasculotide, an Angiopoietin-1 mimetic, reduces acute skin ionizing radiation damage in a preclinical mouse model. BMC Cancer. 2014 Aug 26;14(1):614.
  2. Huang X, Taeb S, Jahangiri S, Emmenegger U, Tran E, Bruce J, Mesci A, Cook E, Vesprini D, Wong CS, Bristow, RG, Liu FF, Liu SK. MicroRNA-95 mediates tumor radiation resistance by targeting sphingosine-1-phosphate phosphatase 1. Cancer Res. 2013 Dec 1;73(23):6972–86.
  3. Liu SK, Bham S, Fokas E, Beech J, Im J, Cho S, Harris AL, Muschel R. Delta-like ligand 4-notch blockade and tumor radiation response. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011 Dec;103(23):1778–98.
  4. Liu SK, Coackley C, Krause M, Jalali F, Chan N, Bristow RG. A novel poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor, ABT-888, radiosensitizes malignant human cell lines under hypoxia. Radiother Oncol. 2008 Aug;88(2):258–68.
  5. Liu SK, Olive PL, Bristow RG. Biomarkers for DNA DSB inhibitors and radiotherapy clinical trials. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2008 Sep;27(3):445–58.

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