S. Mohsen Asghari, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry
Tel: +98-21 66969257
Tumor microenvironment (TME) composed of tumor and stromal cells. Tumor stroma, including basement membrane, fibroblasts, extracellular matrix, immune cells and vasculature, is pivotal for cancer initiation, progression, metastasis and therapy response. In Dr. Asghari's research group, tumor stroma-targeting peptides are designed and then subjected to applied studies for therapeutic, drug delivery and diagnosis purposes. Our peptides are divided into three groups: peptides that binds and neutralize Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 and 2 (VEGFR1 and VEGFR2), peptides that binds and neutralize fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1), and peptides derived from endogenous antiangiogenic protein endostatin. Based on detailed in vitro and in vivo studies, these peptides could inhibit tumor angiogenesis, growth and metastasis. Projects coordinated by Dr. S. Mohsen Asghari are performed in close collaboration with the other working groups at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, as well as with members of the faculty of Pharmacology at TUMS. We are currently focused on the following objectives:
- Optimizing the peptide variants that recently US patented (US Patent 10745454) by rational strategies, and by di- or trimerization.
- Designing novel tumor targeting aptamers based on the complex structures between tumor stroma proteins and their ligands, such as tumor stimulating growth factors.
- Application of peptide-nanocarriers and aptamers-nanocarriers for drug delivery and imaging purposes. For instance, tumor targeting peptides are radiolabeled for therapy and diagnosis of tumors, or they are conjugated on the surface of gold nanoparticles or albumin for combination therapy.