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Preclinical Translational Cancer Research


The mission of the Preclinical Translational Cancer Research (PTCR) Program is to promote and accelerate scientific discovery and development of ideas through the translational continuum in order to impact the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, both within the Stephenson Cancer Center's catchment area and nationally. To achieve this goal, the PTCR Program brings together productive and highly-collaborative investigators who organize their research activities into goal-driven, thematically-focused teams.

The PTCR Program Goals are:
Goal 1: To understand the genetic, epigenetic and signaling mechanisms that drive tumor growth, progression and responses to therapy in order to inform the pre-clinical and clinical development of novel cancer therapies.

Thematic Focus: Identifying cancer genes and delineating signaling pathways.
Thematic Focus: Unraveling aberrant epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms.
Thematic Focus: Understanding metastasis and angiogenesis.

Goal 2: To develop novel strategies and tools to improve cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.

Thematic Focus: Developing and testing nanomaterials for cancer detection and therapy.
Thematic Focus: Developing novel image analysis and modeling tools to enhance early detection and response to treatment.

Team-Based Translational Projects

To facilitate and accelerate the translation of promising ideas into novel therapeutic strategies for improving patient outcomes, the PTCR Program has organized and supports two priority, team-based translational projects in the disease-specific areas of colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer. 

Project team members have established records of scientific productivity and bring to their respective projects significant expertise from the thematic areas stated above.

The PTCR Program represents a new and organizationally unique structure within NCI cancer centers similar in size to the Stephenson Cancer Center in that it leverages and integrates the center's member expertise in 1) the discovery of basic mechanisms and 2) translating mechanisms into novel strategies and tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer into a collaborative, team-based approach to research. 

Unique essential elements at the Stephenson Cancer Center – including physical space, organizational capabilities, cancer focus, institutional commitment and leadership – make it a highly conducive environment to achieve the PTCR Program’s mission of conducting impactful, translational science through collaborative, team-based science.