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University of Colorado Cancer Center

University of Colorado Cancer Center, A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
 

Cancer Cell Biology Program


The Cancer Cell Biology Program (CB) works to understand the cellular regulatory functions that establish and maintain the malignant phenotype. Our researchers study the cell cycle, signal transduction, apoptosis, cell development, cell differentiation, stem cell biology, immune and inflammatory responses and metastasis.

Our researchers are engaged in determining the drives of these processes in cancer and translating this knowledge into potential biomarkers and therapeutic approaches and targets for cancer patients. Novel technologies and approaches to address these areas developed by the program include facily animal models to study cancer stem cells, signaling and apoptosis, mass spectrometric analysis of unique tumor epigenetic modifications, functional genomic drug screens and cancer vaccine development.

Scientific Goals of the Program:

CB Program focuses on dissecting the cellular regulatory functions that establishes and maintains this malignant phenotype and applying this knowledge to translational and clinical investigation. Researchers in this program study the cell cycle, signal transduction, apoptosis, cell development, cell differentiation, stem cell biology, immune and inflammatory responses and metastasis. Programmatic goals include:

  • Discover and understand cell biological processes that can be translated into improved treatment and/or prevention strategies, and collaborate with members of other CU Cancer Center programs to achieve this.
  • Create forums for scientific exchange and thus promote inter- and intra-programmatic collaborations.
  • Facilitate access to technologies and resources to promote research by CB members.

Focus Groups:

  1. Signal Transduction and Apoptosis - The major effort of this focus group continues to be in mechanisms of signal transduction and cell death by apoptosis and autophagy, working from the hypothesis that drugs affecting these processes could be potential targeted cancer therapies and also could be used in cancer chemoprevention.
  2. Cell Cycle Regulation and Proliferation - The research of members in this focus group centers on the basic mechanisms of cell cycle control and cell division and how cells respond to agents that inhibit the processes of DNA replication and mitosis.
  3. Development, Stem Cells and Cancer - It is clear that many proteins important during normal cell development and differentiation are mis-regulated in cancer cells because they regulate cell growth, division, invasion and migration. Several groups are studying these molecules and how they affect the EMT (Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition).
  4. Inflammation, Immunity and Metastasis - Members in this group are focused on basic mechanisms of cellular immunity and how inflammation influences the development and invasiveness of tumor cells.