Dr. Nefedova’s area of interest focuses on understanding of how microenvironment promotes tumor growth and chemoresistance. In this context, her group investigated a role played by Notch signaling pathway in multiple myeloma and demonstrated thatactivation of Notch proteins following contact with their ligands resulted in myeloma cell growth arrest and resistance to chemotherapeutics. Based on this work, Dr. Nefedova and colleagues investigated whether inhibition of Notch could be a viable strategy to target myeloma cells and enhance their sensitivity to chemotherapeutics. They are currently testing different γ-secretase inhibitors that blocks Notch cleavage and therefore prevents Notch activation and translocation into nucleus.
The Nefedova laboratory is also interested in the role played by bone marrow myeloid derived suppressor cells in multiple myeloma. Immunological and non-immunological mechanisms utilized by this cell population that promote myeloma cell survival, growth and resistance to the chemotherapy are under investigation.