University of Southern California

Yu Lab

USC Stem Cell

Lab Overview

Our lab researches the mechanism of cancer metastasis, the major cause of cancer-related death. Distant metastasis is mostly initiated by tumor cells shed from the primary tumor into the blood circulation and carried to distant organs where metastatic tumors eventually arise. By studying the circulating tumor cells (CTCs) isolated from breast cancer patients and mouse models, and using approaches of molecular and cellular biology, single cell tracing and modeling in animals, we are gaining a better understanding of the cancer stem cell properties in CTCs and obtaining novel insights on how to target these rare populations.

Circulating tumor cells (red) positive for proliferation marker (pink) and a leukocyte (green) (Image courtesy of the Yu Lab)
A dividing circulating tumor cell (CTC) from a breast cancer patient (Image courtesy of the Yu Lab)
Image of a tumor sphere stained for membrane bound protein (Image courtesy of the Yu Lab)
A circulating tumor cell (CTC) cluster positive for mesenchymal markers (red) (Image courtesy of the Yu Lab)
Xenografted tumor generated with cells containing two different tracing markers (Image courtesy of the Yu Lab)
Positive expression of transcripts at the invasive edge of a tumor (Image courtesy of the Yu Lab)
Hematoxylin and eosin staining of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) (Image courtesy of the Yu Lab)