Current Research and Scholarly Interests
My research interest is in the use of molecular methods to understand and characterize hematopoietic neoplasms. My current work focuses on the use of PCR-based assays for clonal rearrangements in the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (IGH) and T-cell receptor gene (TCR) for the diagnosis of mature T-cell lymphomas. We recently demonstrated that two of the most common subtypes of PTCL, peripheral T-cell lymphoma, unspecified, and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, exhibit clonal rearrangements both TCR and IGH relatively frequently. Our studies suggest that this unexpected result is due to the presence of B-cell proliferations that often complicate these subtypes of PTCL. We hypothesize that immune dysfunction in the locale of PTCL allows for uncontrolled B-cell proliferation, which is a model is similar to that of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. Our current studies are aimed at providing further support for this theory.
We are also evaluating the use of PCR for the TCR gamma chain gene (TCRG) versus the TCR beta chain gene (TCRB) as a target for T-cell clonality for peripheral blood specimens. A canonical TCRG rearrangement that occurs in 1-3% of normal peripheral blood T cells raises the possibility of false positive clonality. Our studies are aimed at determining whether TCRB offers a more specific target for clonality studies.