Cancer Center

EmailEmail    |   Bookmark Page Bookmark  |   RSS Feeds RSS  |   Print Page Print  

Cancer Biology (CB) Program

Overview


The mission of the CB program is to discover biological abnormalities in cancer cells that can be utilized to develop more effective methods of preventing and treating cancer.  

This program specifically focusses on discovering: 

1) genetic and epigenetic abnormalities in pre-malignant and malignant cells

2) aberrant signaling events in cancer cells, and

3) abnormal metabolic and bioenergetic features of cancer cells

By defining these abnormal characteristics, CB researchers are discovering new methods to prevent and suppress the uncontrolled proliferation, invasion, and metastasis of cancer cells.  These efforts are accelerating the development of novel therapeutic approaches to prevent and treat cancer, while limiting toxicity in normal cells.   

 

Scientific Goals


The mission of the CB Program is to support the efforts of a multi-disciplinary group of basic scientists and clinicians to generate a comprehensive understanding of the genetic, signaling, and metabolic abnormalities that cause malignancy, leading to the development of novel and more effective approaches to prevent and treat cancer.  This mission will be achieved by addressing the following scientific goals:

  • Bring together investigators conducting basic, clinical, applied, and translational research to collaborate in innovative studies of cancer cell biology.
  • Provide access to advanced technical resources and equipment to facilitate research in cancer biology. 
  • Define the genetic and epigenetic events that promote the development of cancer, and identify abnormalities in cell signaling and metabolism that enhance malignancy.
  • Determine how genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, aberrant cell signaling, and altered bioenergetics and metabolism can be therapeutically targeted to suppress the uncontrolled proliferation, invasion, and metastasis of cancer cells.
  • Promote the development of novel therapeutic agents and approaches to treat cancer while limiting toxicity in normal cells.

 

Program Events 


Click here for the Cancer Center calendar of events.

  • Program Meetings
  • Weekly Basic Sciences Seminars
  • Retreat

 

Program Leadership 


Dr. Balaraman Kalyanraman is the Harry R. & Angeline E. Quadracci Professor in Parkinson’s Research and Chairman and Professor of Biophysics, and Director of the Free Radical Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  His research interests are centered on the role of free radicals in signal transduction and apoptosis. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of free radical biology, and has received numerous awards for his scientific achievements and leadership, including the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine.  His laboratory has been continuously funded by support from the NIH, with current support from two NCI R01 grants addressing novel mitochondria-targeted agents in cancer therapy.  He has served as an ad hoc member of numerous NIH study sections, including the Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action (XNDA) study section. He served on the editorial boards of Free Radical Research and the Biochemical Journal.  He currently serves as an Associate Editor for Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine.

 

Dr. Carol Williams is Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Her research interests focus on signaling pathways mediated by small GTPases and their role in the development and progression of cancer.  Her recent studies identifying novel mechanisms regulating the lipidation of small GTPases led to her appointment as the Co-Organizer of the 2013 FASEB Scientific Research Conference on Protein Lipidation, Signaling, and Membrane Domains.  Her research has been funded by multiple NIH R01 grants, with current support from an NCI R01 grant addressing the regulation and function of small GTPases in lung cancer.  She has served on multiple national study sections, including serving as Chair of the Molecular Signaling study section for the American Heart Association and serving on study sections for cancer research applications submitted to the Department of Defense and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  She has been an ad hoc member on the NIH Tumor Cell Biology (TCB) and Molecular and Integrative Signal Transduction (MIST) study sections, and she is a standing member of the NIH Tumor Progression and Metastasis (TPM) study section.  She has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the American Journal of Physiology- Heart and Circulatory Physiology.  She was honored in 2013 with the Champion of Women’s Health Award for her breast cancer research, awarded by the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation. 

 

Significant Scientific Accomplishments


Many Cancer Biology members have demonstrated significant accomplishments in cancer-related research.  Notable scientific achievements made by six CB members in the past few years are highlighted below:

1. Christopher R. Chitambar MD, Professor, Department of Medicine/Hematology and Oncology

Developing gallium compounds that target iron proteins for use as novel cancer chemotherapeutic agents (Chitambar, Gallium-containing anticancer compounds, Future Med. Chem. 4:1257-1272, 2012).

Conducting a clinical trial to identify biomarkers and assess bioenergetic abnormalities in chemotherapy-induced fatigue of breast cancer patients (pilot grant funded by MCW Cancer Center, and new R01 application submitted June, 2013).

2. Howard J. Jacob PhD, Director, Human and Molecular Genetics Center and Professor, Department of Physiology

Promoting the use of whole-genome sequencing for diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases (Jacob et al., Genomics in clinical practice: lessons from the front lines, Sci. Transl. Med. 5:194cm5, 2013).

Expanding the Rat Genome Database (http://rgd.mcw.edu/) to link genomic variations to specific disease phenotypes using rat models (Nigam et al., Rat Genome Database: A unique resource for rat, human and mouse quantitative trait locus (QTL) Data, Physiol. Genomics. 2013 Jul 23. [Epub ahead of print]).

3. Balaraman Kalyanaraman PhD, Chairman and Professor, Department of Biophysics

Designed and tested mitochondria-targeted antioxidants, and demonstrated their efficacy as novel chemotherapeutic agents in breast cancer and other forms of cancer (Cheng et al., Mitochondria-targeted drugs synergize with 2-deoxyglucose to trigger breast cancer cell death, Cancer Res.72:2634-2644, 2012; Dilip et al., Mitochondria-targeted antioxidant and glycolysis inhibition: synergistic therapy in hepatocellular carcinoma, Anticancer Drugs [In Press]; Cheng et al., Mitochondria-targeted vitamin E analogs inhibit breast cancer cell energy metabolism and promote cell death, BMC Cancer 13:285, 2013; Cunniff et al., Mitochondrial-targeted nitroxides disrupt mitochondrial architecture and inhibit expression of peroxiredoxin 3 and FOXM1 in malignant mesothelioma cells, J. Cell. Physiol. 228:835-845, 2013).

4. Janet Sue Rader MD, Chairman and Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Conducted clinical trials to assess efficacy of chemotherapeutic strategies for gynecologic cancers (Zighelboim et al, Multicenter phase II trial of topotecan, cisplatin and bevacizumab for recurrent or persistent cervical cancer, Gynecol Oncol. 130:64-68, 2013).

Contributed to the Cancer Genome Atlas project analyzing mRNA, microRNA, promoter methylation, and DNA copy number and sequences in ovarian adenocarcinomas.  Identified TP53 mutations in 96% of the tumors, and significant mutations in other genes, including NF1, BRCA1, BRCA2, RB1 and CDK12 (Bell et al., Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network; Integrated genomic analyses of ovarian carcinoma, Nature. 474:609-615, 2011).

5. Liang Wang MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology

Published one of the first reports utilizing deep sequencing to discover and characterize profiles of plasma-derived exosomal RNAs, with the aim of developing blood-based biomarkers for cancer and other diseases (Huang et al., Characterization of human plasma-derived exosomal RNAs by deep sequencing, BMC Genomics. May 10;14:319, 2013).

6. Carol L. Williams PhD, Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Discovered that A2B adenosine receptor agonists may promote metastasis by suppressing Rap1B prenylation and promoting dispersion of tumor cells in multiple forms of cancer (Ntantie et al., An adenosine-mediated signaling pathway suppresses prenylation of the GTPase Rap1B and promotes cell scattering, Sci. Signal. May 28;6(277):ra39, 2013).

Defined a new signaling mechanism that controls the activity of multiple cancer-promoting small GTPases, including K-Ras, Rap1, RhoA, and Rac1 (Williams, A new signaling paradigm to control the prenylation and trafficking of small GTPases, Cell Cycle [In Press]).

7. Ming You MD, PhD, Senior Associate Dean, Cancer Center Director, and Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology

Utilized whole-exome sequencing and other techniques to identify previously undescribed gene mutations in lung and colon cancer (Xiong et al., Exome sequencing identifies MXRA5 as a novel cancer gene frequently mutated in non-small cell lung carcinoma from Chinese patients, Carcinogenesis, 33:1797-1805, 2012; Liu et al., Identification of somatic mutations in non-small cell lung carcinomas using whole-exome sequencing, Carcinogenesis, 33:1270-1276, 2012; Liu et al., Genome-wide association and fine mapping of genetic loci predisposing to colon carcinogenesis in mice, Mol. Cancer Res. 10:66-74, 2012; James et al., Functional characterization of CLPTM1L as a lung cancer risk candidate, PLoS One. 7(6):e36116, 2012).

 

Research Members


Click here to view the Cancer Center membership roster.

Name

Position

Dept/Div/Prog

Type

Kathryn A. Bylow MD*

Assistant Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research

Guan Chen MD, PhD*

Professor

Pharmacology and Toxicology/ NA/ Program Development

Research

Lisa A. Cirillo PhD

Associate Professor

Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy/ NA/ Administration

Research

Albert W. Girotti PhD*

Professor

Biochemistry/ NA/ NA

Research

Balaraman Kalyanaraman PhD*

Chairman, Professor

Biophysics/ NA/ Research

Research

Laura Ann Kresty PhD

Associate Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research

Brian A. Link PhD*

Professor

Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy/ NA/ Administration

Research

Pengyuan Liu PhD

Associate Professor

Physiology/ NA/ Cancer Center

Research

Mark T. McNally PhD

Associate Professor

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics/ NA/ NA

Research

Jong-In Park PhD

Associate Professor

Biochemistry/ NA/ Program Development

Research

Janet Sue Rader MD

Chairman, Professor

Obstetrics and Gynecology/ Administration/ Obstetrics and Gynecology

Research

Gary Stoner PhD

Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research

Vera Tarakanova PhD*

Assistant Professor

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics/ NA/ NA

Research

James P. Thomas MD, PhD

Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research

Paula Traktman PhD*

Sr Associate Dean, Chairman, Professor

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics/ NA/ NA

Research

Li-Shu Wang PhD

Assistant Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research

Liang Wang MD, PhD*

Associate Professor

Pathology/ Administration/ NA

Research

Carol L. Williams PhD*

Professor

Pharmacology and Toxicology/ NA/ Program Development

Research

Stuart J. Wong MD*

Associate Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research

Ming You MD, PhD

Sr Associate Dean, Center Director, Professor

Pharmacology and Toxicology/ NA/ Pharmacology

Research

Marshall Anderson PhD

Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research Associate

Jonathan Bock MD

Assistant Professor

Otolaryngology/ NA/ Adult

Research Associate

William H. Bradley MD

Assistant Professor

Obstetrics and Gynecology/ Gynecologic Oncology/ Gynecological Oncology

Research Associate

Christopher R. Chitambar MD

Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research Associate

Jennifer A. Doll PhD

Assistant Professor

Biomedical Sciences/ /

Research Associate

Gilbert G. Fareau MD

Assistant Professor

Medicine/ Endocrinology/ Administration

Research Associate

Thomas Clark Gamblin MD

Chief, Associate Professor

Surgery/ Surgical Oncology/ NA

Research Associate

Neil Hogg PhD

Assistant Dean, Professor

Biophysics/ NA/ Administration

Research Associate

Jian Huang MD

Assistant Professor

Pathology/ Administration/ NA

Research Associate

Yi-Wen Huang PhD

Assistant Professor

Obstetrics and Gynecology/ Administration/ Obstetrics and Gynecology

Research Associate

Howard J. Jacob PhD

Center Director, Professor

Physiology/ NA/ Genetics

Research Associate

Michael James PhD

Assistant Professor

Pharmacology and Toxicology/ NA/ Cancer Center

Research Associate

Hyeongnam Jeong PhD

Assistant Professor

Dermatology/ NA/ General

Research Associate

Nikki Johnston PhD

Assistant Professor

Otolaryngology/ NA/ Adult

Research Associate

Muthusamy Kunnimalaiyaan PhD

Assistant Professor

Surgery/ Surgical Oncology/ NA

Research Associate

Zelmira Lazarova MD

Assistant Professor

Dermatology/ NA/ General

Research Associate

Yan Lu PhD

Assistant Professor

Physiology/ NA/ Cancer Center

Research Associate

Alexander C. Mackinnon Jr, MD, PHD

Assistant Professor

Pathology/ Administration/ NA

Research Associate

Fritz Sieber PhD

Professor

Pediatrics/ Hematology/Oncology/ Oncology

Research Associate

Demin Wang PhD

Professor

Blood Research Institute/ /

Research Associate

Gilbert C. White MD

Professor

Medicine/ Hematology and Oncology/ Hematology

Research Associate

 

webmaster@mcw.edu
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 04/09/2014