The Hematologic Malignancies Research Program at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center is a highly interactive transdisciplinary program with 25 Program Members from 4 Departments in the UNM School of Medicine (Medicine, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Pathology, and Pediatrics), 2 Departments on the UNM Main Campus (Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy), and Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Research conducted by program members spans from the most basic interdisciplinary research, to translational investigations using human tissues and animal model systems, to the design of cancer clinical trials. The goals of the program are to: 1) use comprehensive genomic technologies and model systems to study the transcriptional regulation of hematopoiesis and the gene expression patterns of normal and leukemic cells in order to discover novel underlying genetic lesions in leukemia that may serve as new therapeutic targets; 2) functionally characterize, image, and model signaling and adhesion pathways in normal and leukemic cells in order to understand how unique genetic abnormalities perturb these pathways to promote leukemogenesis and to identify targets for therapeutic intervention; and 3) translate program science and discoveries to novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and clinical trials at the UNM Cancer Center and within the NCI Cooperative Groups. Program members have used sophisticated genomic and computational technologies to develop gene expression classifiers for outcome prediction in leukemia and discover novel therapeutic targets in this disease (JAK2 mutations, CRLF2 activation, Metnase) that are being translated to clinical trials. These and other targets are also being studied in pre-clinical murine xenograft models to define the biochemical consequences of how these mutations perturb signaling pathways and to develop and test novel therapeutics. The development of advanced live cell imaging and spatiotemporal modeling technologies in the program are supporting high profile studies of receptors and signaling pathways involved in leukemogenesis. Since 2005, the program's funding and intra- and inter-programmatic interactions have significantly increased. Program members hold 3 interdisciplinary, multi-investigator, programmatic grants (one of 10 NIH National Centers for Systems Biology {P50GM085273; PI: Oliver); an LLS Specialized Center for Research in Leukemia {7388-06; PI: Willman); and a NCI Strategic Partnerships Grant {U01CA114762; PI: Willman)) and launched the first NCI TARGET Project to identify new therapeutic targets in high-risk pediatric ALL. Program members and their collaborators at St. Jude Children's Hospital and in the Children's Oncology Group have been notified of the awarding of a NCI ARRA TARGET Grant and a NCI ARRA Grand Opportunities Grant to continue to translate their work to leukemia clinical trials. As of September 2009, program members held $9,967,007 in total annual direct funding (representing a 44% increase in funding since 2005) of which $9,131,453 was peer-reviewed; annual direct NCI funding to the program has increased 55% to $2,448,182. In 2008, program members published a total of 64 cancer-relevant publications, of which 41 were intra-programmatic and 19% were inter-programmatic.

Public Health Relevance

The Hematologic Malignancies Research Program integrates a team of transdisciplinary basic, translational, and clinical scientists who use highly sophisticated genomic, computational, imaging, and modeling approaches in human leukemia specimens and animal model systems to study how novel underlying genetic mutations in leukemia perturb gene expression and signaling and adhesion pathways to promote leukemogenesis. Discoveries are actively being translated to new diagnostic strategies and therapeutic modalities at the UNM Cancer Center and within the NCI Cooperative Oncology Groups.

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 New Mexico Health Sciences Center
United States
Zip Code
Steffen, Laurie E; Du, Ruofei; Gammon, Amanda et al. (2017) Genetic Testing in a Population-Based Sample of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors from the REACH Randomized Trial: Cost Barriers and Moderators of Counseling Mode. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 26:1772-1780
Cleyrat, C├ędric; Girard, Romain; Choi, Eun H et al. (2017) Gene editing rescue of a novel MPL mutant associated with congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia. Blood Adv 1:1815-1826
Oruganti, S R; Torres, D J; Krebsbach, S et al. (2017) CARMA1 is a novel regulator of T-ALL disease and leukemic cell migration to the CNS. Leukemia 31:255-258
Belinsky, Steven A; Leng, Shuguang; Wu, Guodong et al. (2017) Gene Methylation Biomarkers in Sputum and Plasma as Predictors for Lung Cancer Recurrence. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 10:635-640
Hill, Deirdre A; Barry, Marc; Wiggins, Charles et al. (2017) Estrogen receptor quantitative measures and breast cancer survival. Breast Cancer Res Treat 166:855-864
Meyer, Matthias R; Rosemann, Thomas; Barton, Matthias et al. (2017) GPER Mediates Functional Endothelial Aging in Renal Arteries. Pharmacology 100:188-193
Flores, Kristina G; Steffen, Laurie E; McLouth, Christopher J et al. (2017) Factors Associated with Interest in Gene-Panel Testing and Risk Communication Preferences in Women from BRCA1/2 Negative Families. J Genet Couns 26:480-490
Wang, Jing; Samuels, David C; Zhao, Shilin et al. (2017) Current Research on Non-Coding Ribonucleic Acid (RNA). Genes (Basel) 8:
Leng, Shuguang; Wu, Guodong; Klinge, Donna M et al. (2017) Gene methylation biomarkers in sputum as a classifier for lung cancer risk. Oncotarget 8:63978-63985
Kimura, Tomonori; Jia, Jingyue; Kumar, Suresh et al. (2017) Dedicated SNAREs and specialized TRIM cargo receptors mediate secretory autophagy. EMBO J 36:42-60

Showing the most recent 10 out of 272 publications