Cancer Research Month: Making a Broad Impact through Innovative Science

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The research conducted by the faculty at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center is organized into six independent, but interactive, Scientific Programs that represent the breadth of our expertise and specific areas of focus.

The work conducted in these programs span the entire continuum of cancer research from basic investigations into the molecular mechanisms that drive tumor behavior to large-scale clinical trials, and the innovative translational research in between.

During National Cancer Research Month, we will introduce each of these Scientific Programs and provide examples of the innovative research that is expanding our knowledge about the causes of cancer and transforming how cancer is detected, prevented and treated.

The first two programs highlight our strengths in basic cancer research and translating those discoveries about the fundamental biology of cancer into new treatments that will ultimately benefit patients in the clinic.

Realizing the goal of personalized medicine and precision oncology for all cancers requires the reiteration of translating basic laboratory observations into clinical application and then back again for further optimization.

Therefore, these programs are built upon productive collaboration between basic and clinical scientists and demonstrate the power of team science to address cancer’s most difficult challenges.

MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF CANCER PROGRAM

Leaders: Suzanne Conzen, MD, professor of medicine, and Kay Macleod, PhD, professor of the Ben May Department for Cancer Research.

This program brings together a group of 36 basic and translational investigators from 10 departments to elucidate the basic molecular mechanisms of cancer cell growth.

Program members use a variety of innovative molecular and cellular methodologies, in addition to systems biology and bioinformatics approaches, to make fundamental discoveries that fuel clinical and translational cancer research and contribute to personalized cancer treatment.

Particular emphasis is placed on the mechanistic analysis of signal transduction pathways, and how these pathways are disrupted in cancer cells, including mechanisms regulating cell death and other stress responses, cell cycle checkpoint control, analysis of altered transcription factor biology in cancer cells, the structural biology of key proteins involved in cancer etiology, molecular mechanisms controlling cell invasion and migration during cancer progression to metastasis, and delineating pathways in developmental systems that are relevant to cancer.

HEMATOPOIESIS AND HEMATOLOGICAL MALIGNANCIES PROGRAM

Leaders: Wendy Stock, MD, professor of medicine, and Lucy Godley, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine.

This program brings together a collaborative group of 31 members spanning three academic departments with an integrated focus on basic, translational, and clinical research centering on the cytogenetic and molecular analysis of hematological malignant diseases.

Members are fostering scientific interactions involved in clinical management and biological studies of hematological malignancies, promoting translational research and facilitating the transfer of laboratory research to the management of patients with these diseases, and promoting the optimal use of resources within the Comprehensive Cancer Center and collaborating departments.

Members have successfully identified genes involved in both normal hematopoiesis and the pathogenesis of leukemias and lymphomas, and translated their finding into novel molecularly targeted therapeutic approaches for hematological malignancies.

About Kathleen Goss (30 Articles)
Kathleen Goss, PhD, is the Director for Strategic Partnerships and senior science writer at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center.
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