The Molecular Oncology (MO) Program studies fundamental molecular processes such as DNA damage and repair, gene expression control and protein/RNA structure. Members collaborate with other programs to translate these basic discoveries into better tools for cancer diagnostics, prevention and therapy. Novel technologies and approaches to address these areas developed by the program include synthetic lethal shRNA screens in human cells to identify pathways conferring resistance to targeted therapies, new phospho-proteomics approaches to elucidate oncogenic protein kinase signaling pathways, and advanced crystallographic and NMR studies of protein structure. The Program has three integrated focus groups: 1) Maintenance of Genomic Integrity;2) Gene Expression and Biomarkers;3) Structural Biology. In the past five years MO members have made major discoveries including: 1) Development of a new combinatorial therapy for CML currently entering clinical trials;2) Elucidation of the structure of various epigenetic regulators (JMJD2, INGS, p53BP1) as well as the Nterminal domain of telomerase;3) Elucidation of the mechanism of action of the CDK8 oncoprotein;4) Development of an inexpensive HPV vaccine to be used in developing countries;5) Identification of novel targets of the oncogenic protein kinase B-RAF;6) Elucidation of mechanisms of transcriptional control by the tumor suppressor p53;and 7) Identification of novel cancer biomarkers for lung, thyroid and breast cancer. MO has 44 full members in 16 departments in 5 schools at the University of Colorado Denver and Boulder campuses, Colorado State University (CSU) and National Jewish Health. Members currently hold $2.9M in NCI-funded research grants and $16.8M in other cancer-relevant research support. Per capita cancer research funding has increased by 39% from $324K in 2005, to $449K in 2010. MO produced 561 cancerrelated publications between 2005 and 2010. Of these, 130 (23%) were inter-programmatic;43 (8%) were intra-programmatic;and 13 (2%) were both inter- and intra-programmatic. Thus, 183 (33%) of the total cancer-related publications by members of this program were collaborative.

Public Health Relevance

The Molecular Oncology Program (MO) organizes a productive group of researchers whose work provides insights into gene expression regulation and its deregulation in cancer, the cellular response to genomic insults, the molecular structure of cancer-relevant proteins, and new signaling transduction processes driving tumor growth. With the UCCC they translate their basic discoveries into better tools for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Center Core Grants (P30)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Colorado Denver
United States
Zip Code
Saichaemchan, S; Ariyawutyakorn, W; Varella-Garcia, M (2016) Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors: From the Oncogenic Pathway to Targeted Therapy. Curr Mol Med 16:40-62
Gillen, Austin E; Yamamoto, Tomomi M; Kline, Enos et al. (2016) Improvements to the HITS-CLIP protocol eliminate widespread mispriming artifacts. BMC Genomics 17:338
Justice, Cristina M; Bishop, Kevin; Carrington, Blake et al. (2016) Evaluation of IRX Genes and Conserved Noncoding Elements in a Region on 5p13.3 Linked to Families with Familial Idiopathic Scoliosis and Kyphosis. G3 (Bethesda) 6:1707-12
Eckwahl, Matthew J; Arnion, Helene; Kharytonchyk, Siarhei et al. (2016) Analysis of the human immunodeficiency virus-1 RNA packageome. RNA 22:1228-38
Iguchi, Nao; Malykhina, Anna P; Wilcox, Duncan T (2016) Inhibition of HIF Reduces Bladder Hypertrophy and Improves Bladder Function in Murine Model of Partial Bladder Outlet Obstruction. J Urol 195:1250-6
Seedorf, Gregory; Metoxen, Alexander J; Rock, Robert et al. (2016) Hepatocyte growth factor as a downstream mediator of vascular endothelial growth factor-dependent preservation of growth in the developing lung. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 310:L1098-110
Agarwal, Neeraj; Dancik, Garrett M; Goodspeed, Andrew et al. (2016) GON4L Drives Cancer Growth through a YY1-Androgen Receptor-CD24 Axis. Cancer Res 76:5175-85
Helfrich, Barbara A; Kim, Jihye; Gao, Dexiang et al. (2016) Barasertib (AZD1152), a Small Molecule Aurora B Inhibitor, Inhibits the Growth of SCLC Cell Lines In Vitro and In Vivo. Mol Cancer Ther 15:2314-2322
Munson, Daniel J; Egelston, Colt A; Chiotti, Kami E et al. (2016) Identification of shared TCR sequences from T cells in human breast cancer using emulsion RT-PCR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:8272-7
Scott, Aaron J; Lieu, Christopher H; Messersmith, Wells A (2016) Therapeutic Approaches to RAS Mutation. Cancer J 22:165-74

Showing the most recent 10 out of 1302 publications