The Cell Growth and Differentiation (CGD) Program serves the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research as the central component for basic discovery in cancer cell biology. Since the last competitive renewal, membership in the program has grown from 17 to 26 members and includes 10 new, cancerfocused Assistant Professors and the new Center Director. United by a common goal to understand the molecular mechanisms governing the growth of cancer cells, CGD members are drawn from 7 Departments and 5 colleges from across the Purdue campus. The CGD Program has a strong record of publication, producing 260 papers since 2003 (12% collaborative). Program members attract approximately 6.5 million dollars of total peer-reviewed support per year, with 56% percent of the grants and 50% of the dollars awarded from the NCI, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, or the DOD breast and prostate cancer research programs. Those statistics reflect a 35% increase in cancer research dollars since the last competitive review. The CGD Program is structured around three major themes of discovery. Historically, the cornerstone of the CGD program has been its strength in cellular signaling with a distinguished group of senior and junior faculty. Many of these projects have spawned highly productive inter-programmatic collaborations involving members of the Chemistry and Structural Biology and Medicinal Chemistry Programs. The second discovery cluster encompasses the largest number of program participants and is focused on the control of gene expression in cancer cells. There is a growing emphasis on epigenetics and the role of chromatin modifications in gene silencing, which complements the focus of on tissue-specific transcription factors important in growth control decisions and development. The third discovery cluster, in which "Animal Models of Cancer Development" is the theme, forms the newest and fastest growing area within the CGD Program.
The program brings together scientists from various fields to address important cancer-related questions. Program leadership sets goals and encourages collaborations. Through the collaborative interactions important discovery are made, which will aid in reducing the pain and suffering caused by cancer.
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