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St. Hill Lab

The St. Hill Lab studies the initial molecular mechanisms involved in cancer growth and spread. Cancer cells and white blood cells share many characteristics in the steps of cancer spread from the initial tumor to distant body sites and white blood cell movement from the blood to areas of inflammation in tissues. Both cell types must first circulate in the bloodstream. The St. Hill Lab examines the binding interactions between blood vessels and cancer cells that allow the cancer cells circulating in blood to leave the bloodstream and spread into tissue sites remote from the initial tumor. Cancer cells express particular carbohydrate molecules that seem to promote much stronger binding to the blood vessel than would typically be observed when white blood cells bind during inflammation.

The laboratory is examining whether cancer cells expressing these carbohydrates can spread more invasively to other tissues and how this affects the survival of the cancer patient (humans and animals). Our research has shown that these carbohydrates are expressed on colon, endometrial, and breast cancer cells, but not in corresponding normal tissues. Increased carbohydrate expression is correlated with a more advanced progression of the cancer, thus these carbohydrates may serve as tumor markers to predict cancer progression. The development of strategies to disrupt expression of these carbohydrates on the cancer cell surface may be useful therapeutically to slow or eliminate cancer growth and spread.


  1. St. Hill, C.A., Alexander, S.R., and Walcheck, B.  2003.  Indirect capture augments leukocyte accumulation on P-selectin in flowing whole blood.  J. Leukoc. Biol., 73:464-471.
  2. Walcheck B., Alexander, S.R., St. Hill, C.A., and Matala, E.  2003.  Adam-17-independent shedding of L-selectin.  J. Leukoc. Biol., 74:389-394.
  3. St. Hill, C.A., Silva, R.F., and Sharma, J.M.  2004.  Detection and localization of avian alphaherpesviruses in embryonic tissues following in ovo exposure, Virus Res., 100:243-248.
  4. St. Hill, C.A., Bullard, K.M., and Walcheck B.  2005.  Expression of the high-affinity selectin glycan ligand C2-O-sLeX by colon carcinoma cells, Cancer Lett., 217:105-113.
  5. Walcheck B., Herrara, A., St. Hill, C.A., Mattila, P.E., Whitney, A.R., and DeLeo, F.R. 2006.  ADAM17 activity during human neutrophil activation and apoptosis, Eur. J. Immunol., 36:968-976. 


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