|CSU Home CSU Directory CVMBS Home Site Index Students WebCT|
Insight: Research Edition
Cancer Research Program Goes from Lab to Clinic
In the Molecular and Radiological Biosciences Building (MRB) on Colorado State University’s main campus, research is underway on a gene defect that may make women more susceptible to breast cancer, on energetic heavy ions that may make astronauts more prone to cancers like leukemia, and on radiation damage to the protective buffers on chromosomes. Meanwhile, at the Flint Animal Cancer Center, veterinarians are applying new treatment modalities to patients with bone cancer, lymphoma, soft-tissue sarcomas and more.
While distinct in their focus, what brings these two groups together – the basic research side and the clinical research side – is that investigators work together under the umbrella of the Radiological Health Sciences and Cancer Research (RHSCR) Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence to advance cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment for animals and humans.
“It seems too easy for many scientists to get bogged down in the details of their research work, some losing track of the bigger picture and what is really at stake,” said Dr. Robert Ullrich, Director of the RHSCR. “When basic and applied researchers work side by side, we can accomplish so much more because we have a greater understanding of what it is we are working to accomplish. At the Animal Cancer Center, every day we see cancer patients who may be one breakthrough away from being cured. Also, at the MRB Building, so much of what we do relates to human cancer using animal models provided by the Animal Cancer Center, based on naturally occurring animal tumors.”
The Radiological Health Sciences and Cancer Research Program provides education, research and service related to carcinogenesis, cancer prevention, radiation protection, cancer diagnosis and experimental therapeutics. The multi-departmental and multi-college program collaborates on many projects with researchers at the Flint Animal Cancer Center at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, using animal models with naturally-occurring tumors to advance the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in humans and animals.
In 2003, the Cancer Biology Group, housed within the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, received a competitive grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The five-year, $9.7 million grant is helping researchers develop a better understanding of radiation risks to astronauts during deep-space travel and prolonged stays in space. But the grant also is helping researchers understand the pathology of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), one of the most common types of radiation-induced leukemia.
Additional areas of focus for researchers at the RHSCR include: cellular radiation biology, DNA repair, radiation genetics, cancer genetics, molecular cytogenetics, spontaneous animal tumors as models for human medicine, radiation therapy for cancer, cancer imaging, prediction of tumor response to therapy via cellular assays, novel cancer treatments, nuclear medicine, cell immortalization, chromosome instability, viral carcinogenesis, radiation-induced mammary cancer.
For more information on the Flint Animal Cancer Center and the Radiological Health Sciences and Cancer Research group, visit their Web sites at www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/erhs and www.csuanimal-cancercenter.org.