Translational Research in Solid Tumors Program (TRIST)
Marcus Peter, PhD
William J. Catalona, MD
The Translational Research in Solid Tumors (TRIST) Program of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University consists of accomplished faculty conducting translational studies centered on the themes of molecular and cell biology, early diagnosis, prognosis, risk factors, therapeutics and treatment of cancer of the aerodigestive tract, dermatologic, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and neuro-oncologic cancers.
The Program Leader is Marcus Peter, PhD. Dr. Peter studies mechanisms of cell death and how cancer cells can be driven into programmed cell death. The goal of Dr. Peter's research is to develop new ways of killing cancer cells that are resistant to many other treatments. This is done in the context of various solid cancers. Novel strategies to kill cancer but not normal cells, and ways to deliver new drugs derived from these efforts are being tested. William J. Catalona, MD serves as the co-leader (interim) of the program. Dr. Catalona’s research focuses on the genetics of prostate cancer, the goal being the development of new tests for the disease as well as possible new means of treating or preventing prostate cancer. He specializes in prostate cancer surgery and is recognized as an expert in performing the "nerve-sparing" radical prostatectomy that can preserve sexual potency.
TRIST members have multiple interests and expertise that revolve around a number of focus areas. These include the study of the function and the therapeutic use of siRNAs and miRNAs, the development of nanoparticles for delivery of drugs and oligonucleotides to solid cancers, the role of cancer stem cells in tumor progression, the role of angiogenesis in cancer progression, the study of the balance of cell survival and cell death in solid cancers, and the study of the tumor microenvironment of solid cancers.
The overall goal of the TRIST Program is to coordinate and enhance the interactions among researchers in the area of solid cancers at Northwestern University. The specific goals of the Translational Research in Solid Tumors Program are:
- To characterize basic molecular mechanisms of cancer development and progression and identify novel targets for therapy
- To develop preclinical animal models to test novel therapeutics to treat solid cancers
- To initiate and conduct clinical studies to test and validate novel approaches and technologies for the treatment of solid cancers