Myriem Boufraqech, Ph.D.
- Center for Cancer Research
- National Cancer Institute
- Building 10, Room 7S261C
- Bethesda, MD 20892
- (240) 858-3599
Dr. Myriem Boufraqech is a molecular biologist who investigates the molecular events governing the progression of thyroid cancer. Research in her group aims to enhance the understanding of thyroid cancer progression and metastasis and to elucidate the mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapy. Dr. Boufraqech uses genomics and transcriptomics tools both in vitro and in vivo to identify the key molecular events governing thyroid cancer dedifferentiation and resistance to therapy. Dr. Boufraqech’s goal is to identify determinants of resistance to targeted therapy in anaplastic (undifferentiated) thyroid cancer.
Areas of Expertise
1) thyroid cancer 2) cancer biology 3) targeted therapy 4) resistance 5) cell signaling
Progressive and metastatic cancer accounts for the majority of cancer-related morbidity and mortality. Our understanding of the key regulators of cancer progression and metastasis has improved; however, why certain therapies lack durable efficacy in advanced cancers is unknown. Thyroid cancer, a relatively common cancer, is an excellent model for studying cancer progression, because mutually exclusive driver mutations, such as BRAF V600E, coupled with additional alterations lead to more aggressive behavior, cancer dedifferentiation, resistance to therapy and metastasis. However, key molecular events governing the progression of thyroid cancer are poorly understood. The goal of our research is to foster the understanding of the molecular mechanisms implicated in thyroid cancer progression, metastasis and dedifferentiation and to uncover the pathways driving resistance to targeted therapy.
There are major gaps in our understanding of the mechanism of resistance in anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) cancer cells carrying the BRAFV600E mutation. Most of the current targeted therapies using BRAFV600E inhibitors have failed in clinic, and the combination approach in which BRAF inhibitors were coupled with other targeted therapeutic agents have shown limited efficacy. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify new determinants of resistance to targeted therapies in advanced and anaplastic thyroid cancer
Our research aims at elucidating the mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies using CRISPR screens combined with drug screening in aggressive thyroid cancer models. Our research aims to unveil new avenues of therapeutic strategies that are highly needed for this rare and deadly thyroid cancer (ATC).
Myriem Boufraqech, Ph.D.
Dr. Boufraqech received her PhD from the University of Paris-Sud at the Cancer Institute Gustave Roussy in France. Her thesis work uncovered the role of radio-induced reactive oxygen species in thyroid cancer. She then trained as a postdoc and as a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI/NIH) under the mentorship of Dr. Electron Kebebew. Her postdoctoral studies led to seminal discoveries in cancer biology and have significantly improved our understanding of thyroid cancer biology. Using several molecular biology approaches and animal models for metastasis, she provided evidence on the role of miRNAs and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in thyroid cancer progression and metastasis. in 2018, Dr. Boufraqech was appointed as a staff scientist in the endocrine oncology section, NCI, CCR.
Dr. Boufraqech joined the University of Texas at Austin as a faculty in the department of Molecular Biosciences where she ran independent research. In August 2022, Dr. Boufraqech joined the Surgical Oncology Program as a staff scientist.
Dr. Boufraqech is a recipient of the American Thyroid Association (Funded by ThyCa) research grant.
Lysyl Oxidase expression is regulated by the BRAF/MAPK pathway and is a prognostic marker in thyroid cancer
Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) transcriptionally regulates SNAI2 expression and TIMP4 secretion in human cancers
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