The goal of this program is to discover and develop new molecular mechanisms that control growth, differentiation, survival, clonal adaptation and genetic stability in normal mammalian cells and to define perturbations of these mechanisms that are necessary and sufficient for the development of cancer. Members of this group share the overarching principle of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to develop novel and less toxic forms of treatment and prevention of malignant diseases. Toward this goal, we must first develop a comprehensive and integrated picture of molecular pathogenesis, a picture that necessarily requires studies of normal, pre-malignant and malignant cells. Members use advanced tools of genetic, cellular and molecular biology to identify interactions between cancer cells and their microenvironment, identify molecular targets for treatment and prevention and identify control points for terminal differentiation, cell cycle arrest, genome protection and apoptosis.
The Cancer Biology Graduate Program (CANB) constitutes the foundation of basic science research of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. There are four research focus areas designed to help facilitate collaborative interactions: Signal Transduction, Carcinogenesis/Genetic Instability, Tumor Microenvironment, and Apoptosis. Members fall into one or more of these groups.
Signal Transduction members focus their research on cellular signaling pathways and mechanisms of relevance to the regulation of normal and cancer cell growth including the integrated function of growth factors and their receptors, kinase-mediated signaling phenomena and the regulation of transcription that lies downstream of signaling pathways.
Carcinogenesis/Genetic Instability members focus their studies on cancer etiology, cell cycle checkpoint control, DNA damage and repair pathways, and the relationship of these events to the development of genetic instability.
Tumor Microenvironment members focus their studies on tumor matrix metabolism and regulation of tissue architecture, hypoxia, the role of immune cells in regulating neoplastic progression, the role of stem cells and miRs in modulating tumor development.
Cell Death/Cell Survival members focus their research on the molecular mechanisms that regulate programmed cell death, how cancer cells engage prolonged cell survival signals, and how these two opposing processes impact the development of cancer and the resistance to therapy.