The Women's Cancer Research Program (WC) of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center embraces a multidisciplinary approach to integrate its basic, translational, and clinical components. The program seeks to define the common mechanisms responsible for the risk and progression of tumors arising from the reproductive tissues of women including the breast, ovary, endometrium, myometrium, uterine cervix and vagina. In doing so, the goals of the WC are to identify molecular markers that contribute to the disease process and outcome, to develop targeted molecular approaches, and to translate these agents from pre-clinical models to the bedside.
This vision is being accomplished under the leadership of Dr. Seema Khan, a noted physician-scientist . Specific areas of research focus that have been enhanced by several new faculty recruits include molecular virology, hormone-based signal transduction and transcription, mouse models, biomarkers, early detection and patient navigation aspects of breast and gynecologic malignancies. Collaboration and translation within the group are facilitated through weekly conferences covering basic through clinical topics.
Over the past five years the program has increased its translational research activity and initiated several interactive clinical trials. These trials have spanned a diverse range of topics, including novel diagnostic and imaging techniques, innovative preventive and therapeutic interventions, and supportive care assessments. This research is conducted in the labs of 34 faculty from 13 departments within the Feinberg School of Medicine and three schools.
Total current cancer-relevant peer-reviewed funding is $5,995,617 (direct) with $2,297,820 (direct) from NCI and $3,697,797 (direct) from other peer-reviewed sources. Between August 2007 and July 2012 there have been 325 publications from the current program members. Fourty three (13.2%) of these publications represent intra-programmatic collaborations and 109 (33.5%) represent inter-programmatic collaborations. Growth in the program has been significantly facilitated through the opening in April, 2010 dedication of the Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care on the 4th and 5th floors of new Prentice Women's Hospital, the designation of the AVON women's cancer research floor (15,000 sf) in the Lurie Research Building and Pathologic/Clinical breast cancer tissue bank and high risk ovarian cancer screening program serum/clinical data bank.
The goals of the Women's Cancer Program are:
- To characterize and define the molecular mechanisms of hormonal signal transduction and virus-host interactions which contribute to women's cancer progression, identify the consequences of their interruption, and apply this knowledge to the prevention and therapy of breast cancer
- To develop animal model systems to evaluate new agents or approaches for the treatment and prevention of women's cancer
- To initiate clinical studies in women's cancer that will define molecular markers and test new agents for the prevention, early detection, or treatment of women's cancer