The Cancer Development and Progression (CDP) research program, one of the three current and interactive programs of the Cancer Therapy &Research Center (CTRC) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), has evolved from the merging of essential elements of several cancer center programs since the last competitive renewal. The major thematic areas under CDP are: (1) Genomic Integrity, (2) Aging and Cancer, (3) Chronic Inflammation and Cancer, and (4) Women's Cancer. The reorganization reflects some significant changes in the previous program areas, including the departure of several key members and new cancer focuse areas brought to the Center by newly recruited cancer research scientists. The new programmatic structure provides a consolidated platform that is more conducive to collaborative and integrative cancer research. All of the above themes have the potential to develop or re-develop into strong, stand-alone programs in the future, and are expected to do so. The overarching scientific goals of the CDP Program are: (1) to integrate basic research in genomic integrity, age-related cancer susceptibility, tumor microenvironment, and hormone actions and therapeutic resistance in women's cancer to gain a deeper understanding of cancer development and progression;(2) to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration between CDP and the research programs in population studies and experimental and developmental therapeutics;and (3) to translate findings of genetic instability, tumor immunity, obesity/nutrition, and hormone resistance into better cancer prevention and treatment. Currently, the CDP research program has 23 key cancer-focused and funded members and another 25 funded members who conduct cancer-related research that contributes to the understanding of cancer development and progression. Cancer research in the CDP Program receives a total of $7.5 million in peer-reviewed funding (direct), of which $2.4 million is from the NCI (direct). In the current funding period, researchers in the CDP program have made a number of major accomplishments in many areas of cancer biology. These include discoveries of novel factors in double strand DNA break repair, new molecular links between genetic instability and aging, important insight into host-tumor interactions, and molecular interplay of hormone synthesis and actions in breast cancer development. With new cancer research focus, reconfigured interactive programmatic structure, and strong leadership, the CDP Program is well positioned to synergize and integrate further the multi-disciplinary cancer research ongoing in our Cancer Center.
The broad yet thematically linked research themes in the CDP Program represent a strong foundation for basic cancer-focused research in the Cancer Center. By integrating trans-disciplinary efforts to address the fundamental problems in cancer development and progression, this Program has the tremendous potential of leading to new cancer prevention and treatment strategies.
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