Understanding the Basic Biology of Cancer
May 10, 2011 – Basic science investigation is a key part of the cancer research continuum. By studying the biology of what happens in cells as cancer first appears and then evolves, basic scientists help identify and define molecules to target for cancer therapy. In this edition of Breakthroughs in Cancer Research, cell biologist Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, discusses the cell-division cycle and the checkpoints that help cells regulate the division process. Piwnica-Worms is chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University, and she also is co-leader of the new BRIGHT Institute at the Siteman Cancer Center, a collaborative effort that includes experts in molecular imaging, functional genomics and high-throughput technology. She says it’s essential for interdisciplinary teams of researchers – like those at the BRIGHT Institute – to work together to understand and attack the problem of cancer.