The best way to fight cancer is to prevent it before it can cause harm to people. The goal of our research is to eliminate benign or recurrent tumors before they can become cancerous and spread throughout a person's body. In order to accomplish this goal, the Center for Cancer Prevention and Drug Development is studying how risk factors increase the development and progression of tumors. The knowledge gained is used to devise and test strategies to prevent cancer in preclinical models. The strategies include drugs that target specific molecules shown to drive cancer development and progression, and also drugs that stimulate the immune system to eliminate tumor cells.
A major consideration is to use drugs that cause no to little toxicity, which important because severe side effects are not acceptable in patients that do not have cancer. When drugs are found to be effective without toxicity in our preclinical models, they then are tested in clinical trials. Primary cancer prevention clinical trials test if the drugs prevent cancer development, especially in individuals at high risk for recurrence of cancer. This center has a unique combination of molecular and cellular biologists, pharmacologists, pathologists, veterinary scientists, immunologists, nutritionists, natural product and medicinal chemists, and clinicians who are well experienced in translational research trials. This multidisciplinary team of experts facilitates the identification of risk factors and drug targets, the development of prevention strategies, and the establishment of successful clinical trials