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Hallmarks of Cancer

Hallmarks of CancerThis program focuses on cancer biology, but Wilmot scientists take an approach that’s slightly different from their peers.

The goal is to investigate and find the next generation of targeted therapies that might apply to broader groups of people.

Currently, most new cancer drugs are highly specific in terms of the mutated genes or proteins they target. While it’s exciting to be able to offer the newest drugs to Wilmot patients, most targeted therapies only apply to certain types of cancer, limiting the number of eligible people.

Our approach is to study entire gene networks that control the activity of many cancers. These networks are essential to a cancer cell’s ability to survive, evade, grow and metastasize. We believe that disrupting these gene network – a.k.a. the hallmarks of cancer – is the best way to stop the disease at its core.

Scientists have already identified key gene networks for cancer and have begun working toward treatments. Meanwhile, to make sure that no stone is left unturned, Wilmot researchers are also studying FDA-approved drugs that might have the potential to be repurposed as cancer therapies. One example: we discovered that a certain antibiotic also targets lymphoma, and have begun a clinical trial to confirm the laboratory finding. 

Patients diagnosed with cancer don’t always have time to wait for the next big discovery. But each incremental step exposes new and unexpected possibilities that change the way we think about cancer and make treatment decisions.

Thanks to ongoing research, many patients have advantages that didn’t exist 20 years ago—or even a few months ago in some cases. Our vision is to understand the hallmarks of cancer, so that no one is left out in the next stage.