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Schlaepfer Research Lab

Genitourinary Cancer


Dr. Schlaepfer’s lab focusses on understanding how cancer cells use fats for growth and resistance to therapy.  Her current project funded by the American Cancer Society, focuses on the role of the CPT1A gene and its association with the androgen receptor. CPT1A functions as a gatekeeper, mediating the entry of lipid into the mitochondria for oxidation and growth. The androgen receptor  mediates the effects of the male hormone androgen, and promotes prostate cancer growth. Prostate cancer metastasis are generally treated with androgen ablation, but most patients relapse to an incurable castration resistant state that is incurable. Dr Schlaepfer has found that blocking the CPT1A gene activity makes the cells more sensitive to the drugs that target the androgen receptor, offering new avenues of therapy for incurable prostate cancer.​


PhD; University of Colorado Boulder

Isabel Schlaepfer was born in Madrid, Spain and attended the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, where she graduated with a degree in Biochemistry. She joined the University of Colorado AMC in 1992 in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, where she worked as a PRA for over a decade on lipid metabolism and genetics. She obtained her PhD from the Department of Integrative Physiology in 2008 plus a certificate in Behavioral Genetics from IBG in Boulder. In 2012 she joined the Department of Pharmacology in Denver as a Research Instructor. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO.


  • K01CA168934 - Targeting Lipid Oxidation for Prostate Cancer Imaging and Therapy Pilot Project Award - Enhancement of FDG-PET with metabolic inhibitors Pilot Project Junior Faculty Award - Pilot study to enhance 18F-FDG-PET imaging of human prostate cancer with ranolazine
  • American Cancer Society RSG; CPT1A-mediated fat oxidation as a therapeutic target in prostate cancer.