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Dr. Halaby is a Professor of Biology and a Cancer Scientist. Breast cancer is the deadliest malignancy in women globally. However it also kills men, the transgendered, and people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Halaby's research focuses on investigating lysosomal-mediated apoptosis (LMA) in human breast cancer cells exposed to triptolide (Thunder God Vine). This Chinese herb has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries to treat anti-inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Dr. Halaby and his team showed that triptolide concentrations, which are 1,000X less than chemotherapeutic drugs, induce cell death in treatment-resistant breast cancer cell lines. This is significant because it suggests that LMA may serve as an effective therapy for tumors that become drug-resistant.

Although chemotherapeutic drugs are toxic to human cells, they are still the primary treatment modality for various malignancies. However, resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs is a major obstacle to curative cancer treatment. Lysosomes, the favorite organelle of the Halaby Lab, participate in cellular digestion. The lab has demonstrated that lysosomes play dual, and opposing, roles in tumorigenesis. Lysosomal enzymes can promote angiogenesis and metastasis on one hand. On the other hand, lysosomal proteases can induce senescence and apoptosis. Dr. Halaby's research utilizes cellular and molecular strategies that specifically and intentionally target lysosomes to kill cancer cells.

Research interests

utilizes cellular and molecular strategies that specifically and intentionally target lysosomes to kill cancer cells

Scholarly Interests

Induction of lysosomal-mediated apoptosis in chemoresistant human breast and prostate cancer cells using triptolide (Thunder God Vine), a Chinese herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over two centuries.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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