Stanley Liu

Picture of Dr. Stanley Liu

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., MD, University of Toronto

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue, Room T2 142
Toronto, ON 
M4N 3M5

Stacy Yuen, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 416-480-4998
Lab: (416) 480-6100 xt 3495
Email Dr. Stanley Liu

At A Glance:

  • Translational research lab focusing on elucidating the role of non-coding RNA in cancer aggression and resistance to therapies
  • Utilize molecular and cellular assays, preclinical cancer models and clinical cancer patient samples
  • Extensive collaborations with basic researchers, bioinformaticians and clinical colleagues

 

Short Bio:

Stanley Liu is a Clinician-scientist, Radiation Oncologist and Assistant Professor within the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. He completed his PhD at the University of Toronto, Department of Medical Biophysics, followed by his MD training and a radiation oncology residency at the University of Toronto. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford, UK, supported by a Terry Fox fellowship and an ASCO Young Investigator Award. His research lab at Sunnybrook is focused on advancing outcomes for cancer patients by researching therapy resistance and biomarkers of response. He also treats patients with genitourinary malignancies at the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre.

 

Major Contributions:

Non-coding RNA and tumour treatment response
MicroRNAs are a large family of short, non-coding RNA that can regulate the expression of downstream genes. Their expression patterns are changed in response to anti-cancer therapies; however, their specific role in governing response to radiotherapy is unclear. Recently, we demonstrated that miR-95

promotes tumour radiation resistance and an aggressive phenotype (Cancer Research 2013). Using in silico prediction and gene array analysis, we identified and validated sphingosine-1-phosphate phosphatase 1 (SGPP1) as a novel miR-95 target that promotes radioresistance. Treatment with FTY720, a clinically utilized small molecule inhibitor of S1P signalling, sensitized miR-95 overexpressing cells to radiation treatment. Our lab has identified and is elucidating the mechanism of several additional candidate microRNA (Oncotarget 2015) and long non-coding RNA that are involved in mediating cancer aggression and response to radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

microRNA as biomarkers to improve cancer detection and management
microRNA are detectable in patient biofluids (e.g., blood, urine, saliva), in addition to tumor, and they are inherently stable, making them excellent biomarkers. We believe that urinary microRNA are an ideal source of potential biomarkers since urine is readily obtainable and non-invasive. We believe that microRNA may also be used as predictive biomarkers to identify more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Thus, we are determining whether testing for specific microRNAs obtained after a prostate exam, predicts for aggressive prostate cancer. If proven, this may allow the early identification of patients with aggressive prostate cancer so that appropriate treatment decisions can be made (Br J Cancer 2015).

Novel approaches to minimizing treatment-related toxicity
Most cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy, but the treatment can also damage the surrounding normal tissue. Radiotherapy side-effects diminish patients' quality of life, yet effective biological interventions for normal tissue damage are lacking. Protecting microvascular endothelial cells from the effects of irradiation is emerging as a targeted damage-reduction strategy. We have demonstrated that administration of targeted therapies for the vasculature can protect against endothelial cell perturbations and decrease the development of acute normal tissue damage in a well-tolerated manner (BMC Cancer 2014).

 

List of Key Publications

  • Huang X, Taeb S, Jahangiri S, Korpela E, Cadonic I, Yu N, Krylov SN, Fokas E, Boutros P, Liu SK.  miR-620 promotes tumor radioresistance by targeting 15-hydroxyprostagladin dehydrogenase (HPGD). Oncotarget 6(26):22439, 2015.

  • Korpela E, Vesprini D, Liu SK.  MicroRNA in radiotherapy: mirage or miRador?  Br J Cancer 112:777, 2015.

  • Korpela E, Liu SK.  Endothelial perturbations in normal tissue radiation damage and therapeutic strategies.  Radiat Oncol  9:266, 2014.

  • Korpela E, Yohan D, Chin LC, Kim A, Huan X, Sade S, van Slyke P, Dumont DJ, Liu SK.  Vasculotide, an Angiopoietin-1 mimetic, reduces acute skin ionizing radiation damage in a preclinical mouse model. BMC Cancer. 2014 Aug 26;14(1):614.

  • Huang X, Taeb S, Jahangiri S, Emmenegger U, Tran E, Bruce J, Mesci A, Cook E, Vesprini D, Wong CS, Bristow, RG, Liu FF, Liu SK. miRNA-95 mediates radioresistance in tumors by targeting the sphingolipid phosphatase SGPP1. Cancer Research, 73(23): 6972-6986, 2013.

  • Liu SK, Bham S, Fokas E, Beech J, Im J, Song C, Harris AL, Muschel RJ. DLL4-Notch blockade and tumor radiation response. J Natl Cancer I 103 (23): 1778-1798, 2011

 

Graduate Students

  • Christianne Hoey
  • Jessica Ray

 

Related Link: