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Cancer Cell Biology Program

Program Description

The Cancer Cell Biology Program is composed of a wide array of researchers covering the spectrum from basic to applied science. The expertise of the members is divided into three overlapping thematic areas and disciplines to encourage collaborations, training and facilitation of technological innovations developed by University of Colorado Cancer Center Shared Resources (SR): 

          • Signaling, Immunity and Apoptosis

          • Cell Cycle Regulation and Proliferation

          • Development, Stem Cells and Cancer


Program Co-leaders are Dr. Robert A. Sclafani and Dr. Antonio Jimeno.

Program Rationale

A large body of evidence indicates that the accumulation of defects in the regulation of cell behavior results in uncontrolled proliferation, immune evasion, invasiveness and metastasis. While this is well established in principle, many of the underlying mechanisms remain to be explained and better understanding of these mechanisms may identify new diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets.

Program Goals and Specific Aims

The major goal of the Cancer Cell Biology (CCB) Program is to foster and improve research focused on dissecting the cellular regulatory functions that establish and maintain the malignant phenotype and by applying this knowledge to translational and clinical investigations. The program will accomplish this goal through three specific aims:
  • Aim 1: Discover and understand normal cell biological processes altered in cancer cells: 
  •              • Growth factor receptor and cell cycle protein kinase pathways          
                 • Apoptotic and autophagic regulatory molecules
                 • Proliferation, chromosome mechanics and mitosis
                 • Stem cell and embryonic development
  • Aim 2: Facilitate the development of innovative model experimental systems that mimic human cancer progression  
  •              • Utilize model yeast, fish, worm, mice and human cancer cell line systems 
                 • Generate and employ patient derived xenograft (PDX) model systems 
                 • Develop recombinant and humanized animal models to study tumor
                    microenvironment and immunotherapy
  • Aim 3: Foster the collaborative and translational use of model experimental systems and new technologies to identify novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets 
  •             • Enhance and develop new cell, genomic and molecular technologies
                • Integrate these technologies into shared resources (SRs) at the Colorado University Cancer Center
                • Facilitate access to technologies and resources to promote collaborative research