Christina Laukaitis, MD, PhD, FACP & FACMG

Assistant Professor, Departments of Medicine and Nutrition
Director of Genetic Consultation and Counseling Services, Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine
Member, University of Arizona Cancer Center
Medical Education Director, Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention
University of Arizona College of Medicine

UACC Information

UACC Organizational Unit: 
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Laukaitis' professional goal is to understand the genetic and environmental risk factors that predispose individuals to cancer in order to treat neoplasia before cancer develops. Her training and board certification in Medical Genetics have provided her with expertise, and to experience caring for people at high-risk for breast and other cancers due to mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, APC and mismatch repair genes. In Dr. Laukaitis' laboratory, they seek explanations for high-risk families without identified mutations.

Dr. Laukaitis has experience working with WBF and UDCA sample genotyping and experience interpreting genetic data that influences cancer risk.

Clinical Information

Clinical Focus: 
Cancer Genetics
Medical Genetics
General Medicine
Laboratory/Office: 
Disease or Clinical Specialty: 
Breast Cancer Prevention
Cancer Prevention
Colon-Colorectal Cancer

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Prevention and Control
Member Status: 
Associate Research Member
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
2008
Summary of Research Activity: 

My professional goal is to provide individual risk assessment and counseling to develop a plan for treating neoplasia before metastatic cancer develops in people at high-risk of cancer because of genetic factors. My training and board certification in Medical Genetics have provided me with expertise and experience caring for people at high-risk for breast cancer due to mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, APC and mismatch repair genes genes. I will couple this with my laboratory background to translate advances understanding additional genes influencing cancer risk into new clinical tests for my patients. I will seek to apply these advances to all of my patients, regardless of racial, ethnic, or socio-economic background.

A second research direction addresses appropriate targeting of chemoprevention strategies. I am participating in a project to test the safety of using DFMO and sulindac as a chemopreventive strategy in children with FAP, which we hope to follow with a study of efficacy.

Visit the Laukaitis Laboratory site to learn more

Selected Publications: 

Dr. Laukaitis' NCBI bibliography

Publications most relevent to current research

  1. Burton BK, et al. A Phase 3 Trial of Sebelipase Alfa in Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2015 Sep 10;373(11):1010-20. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1501365. PubMed PMID: 26352813.
  2. Laukaitis, C.M. (2012) Genetics for the General Internist. American Journal of Medicine 125(1):7-13. PMID: 22079017.
  3. Laukaitis, C.M., Erdman, S.H. and Gerner, E.W. (2012) Chemoprevention in patients with genetic risk of colorectal cancers. Colorectal Cancer 1(3):241-256.
  4. Laukaitis, C.M. and Gerner, E.W. (2011) DFMO: Targeted Risk Reduction Therapy. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Gastroenterology. 25(4-5):495-506. PMID: 22122766.
  5. Zhou, X., Wei, Y., Xie, F., Laukaitis, C.M., Karn, R.C., Kluetzman, K., Gu, J., Zhang, Q-Y., Roberts, D.W., and Ding, X. (2011) A Novel Defensive Mechanism against Acetaminophen Toxicity in the Mouse Lateral Nasal Gland: Role of CYP2A5-Mediated Regulation of Testosterone Homeostasis and Salivary Androgen-Binding Protein Expression. Molecular Toxicology. 79(4):710-23. PMID: 21252290
  6. Karn, R.C. and Laukaitis, C.M. (2011) Positive selection shaped the convergent evolution of independently expanded kallikrein subfamilies expressed in mouse and rat saliva proteomes. PLoS One. 6(6):e20979. PMID: 21695125

Additional recent publications of importance to the field

  1. Laukaitis, C. M., Critser, E. S. and Karn, R. C. (1997) Salivary androgen-binding protein (ABP) mediates sexual isolation in Mus Musculus. Evolution. 51(16): 2000-2005.
  2. Knight, B., Laukaitis, C. M., Akhtar, N., Hotchin, N. A., Edlund, M. and Horwitz, A. R. (2000) Visualizing cell migration in situ. Current Biology. 10: 576-585. PMID: 10837222
  3. Laukaitis, C. M., Donais, K., Webb, D. J., and Horwitz, A. F. (2001) Differential dynamics of alpha 5 integrin, paxillin, and alpha-actinin during formation and disassembly of adhesions in migrating cells. Journal of Cell Biology. 153(7):1427-1440. PMID: 11425873
  4. Laukaitis, C.M., Dlouhy, S.R., and Karn, R.C. (2003) The mouse salivary androgen-binding protein (ABP) gene cluster on chromosome 7: Characterization and evolutionary relationships. Mammalian Genome. 14:679-691. PMID: 14694904
  5. Laukaitis, C.M., Dlouhy, S.R., Emes, R.D., Ponting, C.P., and Karn, R.C. (2005) Diverse spatial, temporal, and sexual expression of recently duplicated androgen-binding protein genes in Mus musculus. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 5:40. PMID: 16018816
  6. Laukaitis, C.M., Heger, A., Blakley, T.D., Munclinger, P., Ponting, C.P., and Karn, R.C. (2008) Rapid bursts of Abp gene duplication occurred independently in diverse mammals. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 8:46. PMID: 18269759
  7. Karn, R.C. and Laukaitis, C.M. (2009) The mechanism of expansion and the volatility it created in three pheromone gene clusters in the mouse (Mus musculus) genome. Genome Biology and Evolution. 2009:494-503. PMID: 20333217
  8. Karn, R.C., Young, J.M. and Laukaitis, C.M. (2010) A candidate subspecies discrimination system involving a vomeronasal receptor gene with different alleles fixed in M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus. PLoS One. 5(9): e12638. PMID: 20844586
  9. Vošlajerová Bímová, B., Macholán, M., Baird, S.E.B., Munclinger, P., Laukaitis, C.M., Karn, R.C., Luzynski, K., Tucker, P., Piálek, J. (2011) Reinforcement selection acting on the European house mouse hybrid zone. Molecular Ecology. 20(11):2403-24. PMID: 21521395
  10. Karn, R.C., Mauss, C. and Laukaitis, C.M. (2012) Congenic strain analysis reveals genes that are rapidly evolving components of a prezygotic isolation mediating incipient reinforcement. PLoS One. 7(4):e35898.
Collaborative Research: 
Ongoing:
74-001-34-IRG                                                           (Laukaitis, PI)                              12/20/15-12/31/16
American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant
A Multi-locus SNP Assay to Predict Risk of Advanced Breast Cancer in ELLA Samples
The goal of this project is to extend our genetic analysis of ELLA samples to a novel but promising pair of interacting SNPs whose presence may explain the young age and late stage of breast cancer diagnosis in ELLA participants.
 
U54 CA143924                                                            (Alberts, PI)                                 09/01/14-08/31/19
NIH/NCI
Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention
The goal of this project is to partner with tribal communities to develop sustainable community education programs and research for cancer prevention that address the unique needs and stages of readiness in three tribal communities (Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, and Tohono O’odham Nation).
Role: Medical Education Director for Community Outreach Program
 
Contracts:
ARISE Trial (LAL-CL02)                                                 (Laukaitis, Site PI)                       09/13-09/16
Synageva BioPharma Corporation
A Multicenter, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of Sbc-102 in Patients with Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency: ARISE (Acid Lipase Replacement Investigating Safety And Efficacy)
This multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study evaluates the safety and efficacy of SBC-102 (sebelipase alfa) in patients with Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency (LALD). The study will consist of a screening period, a 20-week double-blind treatment period and a 130 week open-label extension period.
 
No Grant #                                                                   (Laukaitis, Site PI)                       02/14—indefinite
Genzyme, a Sanofi Company
Genzyme Rare Disease Registry                   
The Rare Disease Registry Program is a longitudinal, international, observational program that tracks outcomes of routine clinical practice for patients with Gaucher, Fabry, MPS I, and Pompe diseases. Data collected represents rare disease practice patterns and disease and treatment understanding across different populations and cultures. The data collected by this international, collaborative registry may provide information to characterize the natural history and progression of these diseases, as well as the clinical responses of patients whose physicians have prescribed disease treatment.
 
Complete:
Phi Beta Psi Sorority Cancer Research Grant                  (Laukaitis, PI)                             08/01/12-03/31/15
Phi Beta Psi charity Trust                                                                                                                                                                                           
Detecting Inherited DNA-Repair Mutations in Women With Strong Family Histories of Breast Cancer.
This proposal supports translational studies looking for inherited genetic variation in breast-cancer risk genes to explain elevated familial breast cancer risk in the absence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. This work funds a preliminary study genotyping women from the UA Cancer Genetics Clinic who have not been affected by cancer, but who are at high-risk based on their family history.
 
Komen Small Research Grants                                      (Ray, PI)                                      06/01/09-05/30/13
Susan B. Komen Foundation
Education and Screening Regarding BRCA1/2 Mutations and Associated Cancer Risks to the Underserved Urban, Rural, and Latina Populations at High Risk for Hereditary Breast Cancer in Arizona Via Tele-Genetic Counseling.
The major goal of this project was to measure the feasibility and reaction to providing genetic counseling and testing to underserved populations using modalities such as telemedicine.
Role: Co-Investigator

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
Positions:
2015-present   Director of Genetic Consultation and Counseling Services, Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2014-present   Laboratory Co-Director, Clinical Laboratory of the University of Arizona Genomics Core, Tucson, AZ
2014-present   Investigator, University of Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2012-2013       Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Univ. Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2010-present   Assistant Professor, Tenure Eligible, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2009-present   Member, Genetics Interdisciplinary Training Program, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2009-present   Member, Cancer Biology Interdisciplinary Training Program, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2008-2013      Associate Investigator, Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2008-2010      Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Dept. of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2008-2009      Postdoctoral Research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
2006-2008      Fellow, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
2006                Locum tenens physician, Hopi Health Care Center, Polacca, AZ
2004-2006      Resident, Internal Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN
2003-2004      Intern, Internal Medicine Residency Program, St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN
1995-2001      Graduate & Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Cell & Structural Biology, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL
 
Honors:
2013             “Researcher of the Year”, Arizona Chapter, American College of Physicians
2011             40 under 40, Arizona Star, recognizes young leaders in Tucson based on professional accomplishments, leadership qualities and community impact.
2011             Yellen Distinguished Young Investigator Award, Arizona Cancer Center; Unrestricted use gift
2010-2011   Young Alumni Board, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
2005             Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC (Basic statistics, Genetic data analysis, Molecular phylogenetics)
1991-1995   National Science Scholar, National Science Foundation
Other Experience and Professional Memberships/Affiliations: 
2011-Present  Member, Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG)
2011-Present  Member, International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumors (InSiGHT)
2011-Present  Member, Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer
2011-Present  Fellow, American College of Physicians        
2009               Diplomate, American Board of Medical Genetics
2008-Present  Member, Arizona State Genetic Services Advisory Committee
2007-Present  Member, American Society for Human Genetics
2007-2011     Member, American College of Physicians
2006-Present  Member, Genetics Society of America
2006               Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine
2003-Present  Member, European Society for Evolutionary Biology
2001-Present  Member, Society for the Study of Evolution
Board Certifications: 
American Board of Medical Genetics, 2009
American Board of Internal Medicine, 2006
 

Academic Information

Fellowship: 
Medical Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Residency: 
Internal Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN
Medical School: 
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign
Undergraduate School: 
Butler University, Indianapolis, IN