Dr. Cassidy leads the group’s work on melanoma chemoprevention. The Leachman-Cassidy group was the first to report on the role of CDKN2A/p16 in the oxidative stress pathway in melanocytes, creating a new targetable pathway in this high-risk population. Since that time, Dr. Cassidy has led projects testing a pipeline of antioxidant agents, including selenium, N-acetylcysteine, sulforaphane, piperine and nicotinamide, as candidate chemoprevention agents. Dr. Cassidy is particularly interested in identifying and applying agents that could alleviate the mutagenic effects of UV-induced oxidative stress in order to prevent melanoma. Her team is poised at this time to identify an effective chemoprevention candidate for melanoma and also to formally test it in Dr. Leachamn’s high-risk melanoma cohorts.
In addition to testing promising agents such as N-acetylcysteine in patients, Dr. Cassidy is working towards understanding the genetic basis of susceptibility to melanoma and response to chemopreventive agents. This effort is the foundation of the Leachman-Cassidy Lab’s ultimate goal of offering patients a personalized program for melanoma prevention.