Joshua Lang, MD, MS | Translational Biomarker Therapeutics for Prostate Cancer
Joshua Lang, MD, MS, is a physician-scientist with a broad background in molecular biology, medical oncology, and translational research. Using microfluidics, Dr. Lang is focused on studying the emergence of resistance to therapy in patients with advanced prostate cancer and identifying new biomarkers for targeted therapies.
Dr. Lang's lab uses microfluidics to identify and capture circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from a patient’s simple blood draw, also known as a “liquid biopsy.” In processes co-developed with UW biomedical engineers in the laboratory of David Beebe, PhD, the team captures CTCs using antibodies to membrane proteins specific to cancer epithelial cells (EpCAM, Trop-2, PSMA).
Above, a hand-held Versatile Exclusion-based Rare Sample Analysis (VERSA) device, which is used for Exclusion-based Sample Preparation (ESP). This technology is a non-dilutive, non-destructive process for analysis of rare cell populations. It uses surface tension to capture targeted cell populations, which are magnetically pulled between reagents with paramagnetic particles (PMPs).
Using microscopy, gene expression analysis, next-generation sequencing and epigenetic analysis, they aim to identify pathways that can predict which patients will respond to targeted therapies such as androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARSI) and antibody drug conjugates such as sacituzamab govitecan (IMMU-132).
These techniques are leading to a better understanding for developing biomarkers that detect both AR-mediated and non-AR-mediated mechanisms of resistance, such as treatment of emergent small-cell prostate cancer, and are helping the team achieve its goal of improving lives of patients with cancer.