The goal of the Cancer Biology Program, led by Nathan Ellis, PhD, and Cynthia Miranti, PhD, is to identify etiologic mechanisms underlying cancer initiation and progression. As the main basic-science-of-cancer platform for the University of Arizona Cancer Center, the Cancer Biology Program advances fundamental knowledge of the complex biological networks that are deranged in cancer and of interactions between these complex networks and the environment that promote cancer initiation and progression. The research done in the Cancer Biology Program has one primary focus: to discover and understand how cancer works at the most fundamental levels in order to devise approaches to cure and prevent it.

Understanding the biological mechanisms that govern normal cell and cancer cell processes allows our researchers to search for new tests for early detection of cancer, for better diagnostic methods using biological markers, and for more effective and less toxic treatment and prevention strategies. The Cancer Biology Program is organized into three major themes based on the different pathologic features of cancer, including:

  • Genomic Instability and the Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression
  • Signaling Networks in Carcinogenesis and Tumor Progression
  • Invasion and Metastasis

Program Goals

The Specific Aims of the Cancer Biology Program are as follows:

1. Identify etiological mechanisms underlying cancer development and progression

2. Move basic research discoveries to the clinic