A number of faculty members in the Dept of Cellular and Physiological Sciences are working to translate their laboratories’ fundamental findings into novel anti-cancer therapies with low toxicity. Dr.Nabi is utilizing the soluble compound AMF, which his group has characterized at the molecular level, as a novel delivery vehicle to specifically target cancer cells with chemotherapy drugs and thus decrease toxic side effects in normal tissues. Dr. Roskelley is generating non-toxic compounds that block the activity of the cell surface molecule podocalyxin, which his group has shown is involved in breast and ovarian cancer progression. Dr. Johnson, whose group has characterized how metabolism is regulated in the normal and diabetic pancreas, is now working to determine how modifying the metabolic load affects pancreatic cancer progression. Dr. Loewen, who has worked out the molecular specifics of acid-based metabolic signaling in yeast cells is now determining how such signaling can be manipulated to slow the growth of human cancer cells. In addition, Dr. Underhill, who has identified a novel population of ‘mesenchymal’ stem cells that surround developing tumors, is now developing strategies to modify the function and number of these stem cells to shrink tumors, also in a non-toxic manner.

Jim Johnson    Chris Loewen    Robert Nabi    Christian Naus    Cal Roskelley    Mike Underhill    Joanne Weinberg  Janel Kopp