Dr. Frank Blecha

Department: Anatomy & Physiology
Departmental Website

“We study cells and proteins that are involved in innate immunity. Cathelicidins are a family of antimicrobial peptides produced by immune and epithelial cells that are potent, rapidly acting, and broadly effective natural antibiotics. However, recently, several nonmicrobicidal functions of cathelicidins have been identified, and may be important in understanding cancer biology. For example, some cathelicidins increase the expression of proteins important in wound repair and inflammation, and decrease the production of reactive oxygen species. When cancerous cells were treated with cathelicidins, motile and invasive capacities of these cells were reduced. Further studies with cathelicidin proteins and genes have good potential for developing new therapies for treating cancer.”