Program Co-Leaders: Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, and Greg Longmore, MD
Web site: www.signalingcellcyclegroup.wustl.edu
The loss or deregulation of proteins involved in such diverse processes as cellular proliferation, cell cycle and checkpoint control, DNA repair and cell death is a consistent feature of cancer cells. Cancer cells arise through a process of cellular evolution due to the accumulation of genetic changes. As cancers arise and progress, there is a selection for those genetic changes that give the cancer cell a proliferative advantage over normal cells. Because many cancers are not easily detected at early stages of development nor readily curable using existing strategies, there is a need to identify new molecules that can be used both as diagnostic probes and as therapeutic targets.
The Cellular Proliferation Program is organized around the theme that elucidating the web of connections between signal transduction pathways, cell cycle regulatory pathways and cell death pathways will help to both define origins of human cancer and identify targets for the design of novel therapies and diagnostic tools.
The Cellular Proliferation Program includes 29 members representing nine Washington University School of Medicine departments. The research activities of program members focus on fundamental biological processes regulating cellular proliferation, including signal transduction, cell cycle and checkpoint control, telomere biology and apoptosis. These laboratories employ a diverse array of experimental approaches and model organisms, including budding yeast, Drosophlia melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, Xenopus and mammalian systems. Investigators in this program have a strong record of collaboration and interaction with other Siteman Cancer Center members. Major goals of the program include promoting collaboration and translation of new findings regarding basic biological processes into opportunities for understanding and treating cancer, and enhancing the training environment at the School of Medicine in the area of cancer through teaching, training and faculty recruitment.
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