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Hallmarks of Cancer

The Hallmarks of Cancer program brings together investigators from diverse viewpoints who study initiation of disease and cancer cells’ unique ability to reproduce, evade, and recur.  Instead of focusing on single mutations, however, our approach is to study the critical, common traits that all cancer cells exhibit. Conquering the disease’s resistance to treatment is also at the heart of our research efforts.

Hallmarks of CancerHucky Land, Ph.D., director of research at Wilmot and an integral part of the Hallmarks program, is supported with seven years of uninterrupted funding with a National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award for exceptional scientists.

Our Hallmarks investigators have a variety of special interests, including gene networks that control the activity of many cancers, RNA biology, cancer cell metabolism, and aging cells’ response to stress. Some highlights of our program:

  • Our scientists screen FDA-approved drugs for agents that might be repurposed and used as anti-cancer therapies.  In one case, for example, we’re looking at drugs that might target a tumor-suppressor gene active in brain cancer.
  • Our cancer metabolism team is investigating the links between sugar fermentation and glutamine consumption by cancer cells, with the goal of intervening to slow or stop tumors.
  • Cancer is a disease of aging. We have a collaborative aging research team to study distinctly different perspectives: biomarkers for aging and cancer, how aging cells respond to cancer treatment, and how best to manage the complex care of older adults with cancer through Wilmot’s Geriatric Oncology Clinic

Wilmot scientists are using the innovative CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology, which allows them to modify DNA and study cell cycles and abnormal growth at the root of cancer.  With a particular expertise in RNA biology, our team is also manipulating RNA pathways to modulate gene splicing, to understand what drives cancer progression