Cancer Biology

“If we don’t understand cancer biology, our treatment strategies will be empiric, like randomly throwing darts at a wall without knowing the direction to aim. I see no alternative to using biology-informed clinical trials to make progress.”

– Dr. John Mackey
Professor, Department of Oncology

To truly impact cancer survivorship, the biology of cancer must be decoded. There are certain hallmarks that define the biology of any cancer cell, as outlined by Hanahan and Weinberg (Cell, 2011). These include the ability to divide uncontrollably, migrate through tissues and evade the immune system, to mention a few.

Our researchers continue to make great strides in understanding these hallmarks and in applying this understanding to drug discovery in the context of molecular subtypes of cancer. This will enable the mechanisms underlying cancer progression to be better understood and corrected. 

Some of the exciting ongoing research projects that are decoding the biology of cancer are focused on but not limited to:

  • Environmental determinants of carcinogensis
  • DNA damage and repair
  • Cell regulation, including proliferation, adhesion, migration and metastasis
  • Mechanisms of chemotherapy and radiotherapy resistance
  • Mechanisms of metastasis
  • Tumor microenvironments and angiogenesis
  • Epigenetic control of tumorigenesis