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Research Programs at University of Illinois Cancer Center
Our researchers and physician-scientists conduct lab, translational, clinical, and population sciences research that is organized under three research programs:
Cancer Prevention and Control
The Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) Program’s overarching goal is to identify cancer risk factors, prevent cancer, and reduce cancer morbidity and mortality — by supporting optimal cancer treatment, adherence, and survivorship — to improve health outcomes. Our focus is on tackling persisting cancer outcome disparities among the racial/ethnic minorities and underserved populations served by University of Illinois Cancer Center.
The CPC Program strives to achieve this goal through innovative, transdisciplinary, collaborative research and effective partnering with University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)-owned Federally Qualified Health Centers and the diverse communities in the catchment area.
The CPC Program has three specific aims:
- Identify new cancer risk factors by studying structural and individual determinants (behavioral, contextual, sociocultural, environmental, psychosocial, biological, fiscal, and policy) of cancer risk and cancer health disparities.
- Develop and implement interventions to reduce cancer risk and cancer health disparities.
- Develop and deploy innovative interventions, improve outcomes, and achieve cancer health equity relevant to cancer management, treatment, and survivorship.
The CPC Program is led by Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, PhD.
Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, PhD, MS, RD
Medicine – Academic Internal Medicine & Geriatrics
The scientific goal of the Cancer Biology (CB) Program at University of Illinois Cancer Center is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis.
The CB investigators focus on how cancer cell behavior is mediated by signaling and metabolic pathways that impact the expression of genes and the interactions between the cancer cell and the tissue environment.
One of the main objectives of the CB program is to make discoveries related to the drivers of cancer growth and spread, with the important goal of identifying cancer vulnerabilities and new therapeutic targets.
The CB Program has three specific aims:
- Determine how cancer metabolism and signaling pathways act individually and are integrated to drive cancer development and progression, identifying new vulnerabilities of cancer.
- Determine how signaling is relayed to transcriptional control through direct and epigenetic mechanisms, and how genome integrity is compromised, to drive the cancer phenotype of cancer.
- Identify mechanisms by which cancer cells interact with the local extracellular matrix and stromal cells, and inflammatory and vascular systems to allow for invasion and metastasis.
The CB program is co-led by Joanna Burdette, PhD, and Angela Tyner, PhD.
Joanna Burdette, PhD
Angela Tyner, PhD
Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
The Translational Oncology (TO) Program at University of Illinois Cancer Center brings together teams of investigators who conduct research along the translational continuum that range from mechanistic studies, validation of therapeutic targets and disease biomarkers for cancer therapy and chemoprevention, to clinical trials that explore opportunities for personalized medicine.
The TO Program represents a group of investigators connected by the common interest of translating laboratory research discoveries into clinical trials with the potential to impact cancer outcomes within the catchment area and beyond.
The TO Program has three specific aims:
- Identifying and conducting analysis of molecular determinants of cancer health disparities.
- Identifying, validating, and developing targets for cancer therapy, with an emphasis on signaling in hormone-responsive and gynecological cancer.
- Advancing therapeutic approaches to cancer through drug development and early-stage clinical trials.
The TO program is co-led by Kent Hoskins, MD, and Ajay Rana, PhD.
Kent Hoskins, MD
Medicine – College of Medicine
Ajay Rana, PhD
Science That Serves Our Communities
At the University of Illinois Cancer Center, we listen to the people in our community, and let their needs shape our research priorities and activities. By listening to their voices, we have unique opportunities to directly impact cancer patients and improve outcomes for the communities we serve.
At a Glance: Research at the University of Illinois Cancer Center
- More than 115 full members
- 90 associate members
- 3 research programs
- 1 goal: Exploring and understanding the totality of intersecting issues that trigger cancer – biology, race, ethnicity, gender, age, environment, lifestyle, geography, and socioeconomic status – in order to discover and individualize approaches to better prevent and treat cancer and ensure long-term wellness after cancer
To learn more about clinical trials, contact the Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office: