Cancer Research and Discoveries

cancer research and discoveries

Take Action at the Cancer Center

Cancer research is the key to preventing, detecting, diagnosing, treating, and curing this complex disease. By developing a deeper understanding of cancer — including its onset, growth, and spread — we can make progress toward diminishing and eliminating its impact. 

At the University of Illinois Cancer Center, we are committed to conducting research that reduces cancer disparities, promotes health equity, and ultimately, saves lives. 

These case studies highlight just a small portion of the tremendous advancements in cancer research performed by researchers at the Cancer Center. 

Third Line Medication for Pancreatic Cancer Patients

According to research from the Cancer Center led by Ajay Rana, PhD, Endowed Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and Co-Leader of the Cancer Center’s Translational Oncology Program, long-term treatment of pancreatic cancer using the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine leads to extensive reprogramming of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment, sensitizing tumors to the benefit of a multi-drug immunotherapy regimen. 

The Challenge

The Process and Discoveries

The Implications for Cancer Research

The Support

Mass Spectrometry Before — Not After — Ovarian Tumor Growth

Mass spectrometry is often used to detect the precise location of cancer after a tumor has formed. Research led by members of the Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program, Dr. Laura Sanchez, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Joanna Burdette, PhD, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the UIC College of Pharmacy, has taken them in the opposite direction. In their research, they are utilizing the technology’s chemistry before a tumor grows so that drugs can be used to more successfully treat the disease in areas that may have been overlooked.

The Challenge

The Process and Discoveries

The Implications for Cancer Research

The Support


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