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Research Programs

Cancer Biology

The development of new therapies, especially in the era of targeted treatments and personalized medicine, is driven by understanding the underlying cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry of tumor cells and their surrounding microenvironments. The Cancer Biology research program represents basic science initiatives of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Members focus on four discipline-based themes: 

  1. Cancer metastasis and tumor microenvironment
  2. DNA damage/repair and regulation
  3. Stem cell biology
  4. Cell signaling pathways. 

Members of the Cancer Biology research program aim to understand the molecular mechanisms that define normal and neoplastic cell growth to identify and characterize cells, molecules, pathways and processes that are involved in cancer growth and progression. Their findings can serve as useful biomarkers or new cellular targets for cancer prevention and therapeutics. Members focus their efforts on the cancers that most affect people in the cancer center’s catchment area. Overall, their goal is to advance promising basic discoveries into clinical trials.

The Cancer Biology research program is led by Tomoo Iwakuma, MD, PhD (Children's Mercy Research Intitute), Linheng Li, PhD (Stowers Institute), and Sufi Thomas, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center).

Bench to Bedside: The Role of Basic Science in Cancer Treatment Advances

Learn about the value of basic science, which builds on our fundamental understanding of how cancer works, fueling discoveries and better therapies.

Interested in becoming a cancer center member? 

To apply, click here. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Contact Lisa Harlan-Williams at for more information regarding membership.

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