The scientific goal of the Cancer Biology program (CB) is to understand the molecular mechanisms that define normal and neoplastic cell growth in order to identify and characterize molecules, pathways and processes that are involved in tumor development, growth and progression. CB is a new program that represents the basic science initiatives of KUCC and is unified by member utilization of molecular, biochemical, and cell-based approaches that study the aberrant behavior of cancer cells. The overarching goal of CB is to catalyze collaborations that promote basic discoveries that can be translated from bench-to-bedside.
The Specific Aims of CB are 1) to promote collaboration that enhances discovery of the cellular, molecular and biochemical mechanisms that underlie tumor development, progression and malignant behavior;and 2) to leverage basic science discoveries to inspire pre-clinical and clinical development of novel cancer therapies. CB has 32 full members and 11 associate members, representing all KUCC institutions. Even at this early stage of KUCC growth, CB has garnered $17 million in cancer-related, peer-reviewed funding, of which $1.9 million was from NCI and $15.1 was from other peer-review sponsors. From 2006-2010, members published 250 cancer-relevant, peer-reviewed papers which were cited 2904 times (average 10.8 citations/publication) of which 7% were the result of inter-programmatic interactions and 15% from intra-programmatic interactions. In addition, CB program members accounted for 10.2% of the usage of the Biospecimen Shared Resource, 7.09% of the usage of the Biostatistics &Informatics Shared Resource, and 8.57% of the usage of the Lead Development &Optimization Shared Resource in 2010. CB is jointly led by Yvonne Wan and Linheng Li, who bring complementary scientific expertise, growing leadership experience, and diverse institutional representation. They will work closely with Danny R. Welch, Associate Director for Basic Science. CB has taken advantage of historical strengths at KUMC, KU-Lawrence and the Stowers Institute in liver, Gl, kidney and hematopoietic tumors. Recent recruitments have expanded those initiatives to include breast, HNSCC, and osteosarcoma research. In addition to a disease-based thematic organization, CB members have expertise that can be organized into four discipline-based themes - Chromatin Organization and Transcriptional Regulation, Signaling Pathways and Development, Cancer Cell Biology and Stem Cell Biology;and Cell Proliferation, Differentiation and Death.
Collaborative, interdisciplinary, discovery-oriented basic cancer research will identify new targets that can be used for prognostic and therapeutic objectives. Further understanding of cancer will lead to introduction of new cancer drugs which will continue to have significant impact on the care, survival and quality of life of cancer patients.
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