Dr. Brigitte Gomperts’ research focuses on the role of adult stem cells in repair and regeneration of the lungs. The goal of her research is to understand the normal repair processes in the airway that recapitulate lung development. Studying these adult stem cells in repair and regeneration of the lungs may, therefore, also provide new insights into diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and bronchiolitis obliterans. The ultimate goal is to use this knowledge to develop novel targeted therapies and prevention strategies for lung diseases.
For example, Gomperts identified a progenitor cell population that is important in airway epithelial repair, but persists in premalignant lesions and is associated with a poor prognosis in lung tumors. This finding may help predict patients with a higher likelihood of recurrence of their lung cancer and also suggests that this progenitor cell population may be the tumor-initiating cell for some lung cancers. Thus, understanding the biology of these progenitor cells may help develop therapies to prevent the development of lung cancer.
A member of the UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Gomperts is an assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology. She joined the UCLA faculty in 2003 after completing a pediatric residency and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She earned her medical degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Gomperts is also affiliated with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and the Molecular Biology Institute. She’s a member of the American Thoracic Society, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Society for Stem Cell Research.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications:
Ooi AT, Mah V, Nickerson DW, Gilbert JL, Ha VL, Hegab AE, Horvath S, Alavi M, Maresh EL, Chia D, Gower AC, Lenburg ME, Spira A, Solis LM, Wistuba II, Walser TC, Wallace WD, Dubinett SM, Goodglick L, Gomperts BN. Presence of a putative tumor-initiating progenitor cell population predicts poor prognosis in smokers with non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer Res. 2010 Aug 15;70(16):6639-48.
Gomperts BN, Spira A, Elashoff DE, Dubinett SM. Lung cancer biomarkers: FISHing in the sputum for risk assessment and early detection. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Apr;3(4):420-3. Epub 2010 Mar 23.
Gomperts BN, Strieter RM. Stem cells and chronic lung disease. Annu Rev Med. 2007; 58: 285-98.
Gomperts BN, Strieter RM. Chemokines and lung cancer. Clin Pulm Med. 2006;13:356-364.
Gomperts BN, Belperio JA, Rao PN, Randell SH, Fishbein MC, Burdick MD, Strieter RM. Circulating progenitor epithelial cells traffic via CXCR4/CXCL12 in response to airway injury. J Immunol. 2006; 176(3): 1916-27.