Dr. David LeBrun obtained his M.D. from Queen’s University in 1984. He completed residency in anatomical pathology at the University of Toronto in 1990 then moved to Stanford University where he underwent postdoctoral training in lymphoma diagnosis and, as a Medical Research Council Canada Research Fellow, in experimental research pertaining to molecular mechanisms of leukemogenesis. He has held a faculty appointment in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen’s University since 1994 and holds the rank of Professor. He conducts correlative and mechanistic research on lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His research has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, the Cancer Research Society and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. LeBrun serves as the senior consultant in lymph node pathology for the Southeastern Ontario region.
MOLECULAR MECHANISMS IN LEUKEMIA
Our lab carries out experimental and correlative research related to lymphoid cancers. The experimental component of our work is directed at understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive and relatively common cancer in children. We are especially interested in an oncogenic transcription factor called TCF3-PBX1 (formerly called E2A-PBX1). TCF3-PBX1 disrupts the normal regulation of cellular proliferation and differentiation by mechanisms that involve physical interactions with other proteins and DNA; these ultimately lead to abnormal gene regulation. We use a wide range of biochemical and cell biology techniques to identify and elucidate key physical and functional molecular interactions involved in transforming normal hematopoietic cells into leukemic ones.
TRANSLATIONAL LYMPHOMA RESEARCH
Lymphomas are relatively common solid tumours derived from lymphoid cells. Since they are clinically and biologically diverse, as well as relatively well-characterized from a molecular point of view, lymphomas offer a particular opportunity to exploit new insights in basic cancer biology in order to improve the diagnosis and clinical management of patients. Our work in this area has essentially entailed correlating histological, immunohistological or molecular findings derived from primary lymphoma tumour samples with clinical data. Our correlative lymphoma studies been made possible by the Queen's Laboratory for Molecular Pathology, which provides access to research pathology services, including construction of tissue microarrays, routine and fluorescence-based immunohistology, computer-assisted image analysis services, nucleic acids extraction and access to a NanoString platform.