The CBTO 4+1 program provides outstanding training opportunities in four areas that correspond to the four scientific focus groups of the Winship Cancer Institute.
Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics
This group focuses on genetic and epigenetic alterations that ultimately result in cancer initiation and progression. Another major focus of this program is DNA damage managing systems, including DNA repair, and DNA damage recognition. DNA damage includes that induced by mutagens, as well as chromosome instability and aneuploidy triggered by oncogenes and tumor suppressors. The epigenetics component of this program includes DNA methylation, and chromatin modifications leading to unregulated transcription, an important component of tumor biogenesis.
Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling
This group concentrates on the signaling events by which cancer cells establish themselves in the host organism and form a neoplastic tissue. The biological mechanisms, by which cancer cells activate proliferation, overcome apoptosis, develop self-sufficiency in growth factors, evade the immune system, become invasive and metastatic, induce angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, and other hallmarks of cancer are studied.
Drug Development and Therapeutics
This group focuses on the exploitation of the knowledge acquired from the study of cancer formation to develop novel therapeutics. Faculty members in this program interrogate various molecular targets to discover various anticancer drugs, and test those drugs in animal models, with the ultimate goal of establishing clinical trials. Research areas in this program include signaling pathway investigation, medicinal chemistry, natural product manipulation, pharmacology, high throughput screening technology for small molecular discovery, biomarker-driven clinical trial design, pathology, and biostatistical evaluation.
A number of CB faculty member research projects extend across several of these areas, providing students with ample opportunities for exceptional interdisciplinary training. Particular strengths in organ-specific cancer research are found in breast, lung, head and neck cancer; brain tumors; blood cancers; and many others.