Cancer Mechanisms

The goal of the Cancer Mechanisms (CM) Program is to translate important advances in basic understanding of cancer into diagnostics and therapeutics that can be assessed in clinical trials. 

From the initial molecular insights into the genetic alterations involved in cancer gained from investigations of RNA and DNA containing tumor viruses, there has been increasing recognition of the expanding complexity of the signaling pathways involved. We now have a greater understanding than ever before of the causes of cancer, the many genetic loci affected, and candidate proteins that can serve as targets for novel therapeutics. Yet despite clearer understanding of this disease and an increased ability to diagnose and treat at progressively earlier stages, cancer still remains a challenge for effective treatment and cure. 

The CM Program of The Tisch Cancer Institute (TCI) is built on the premise that basic discoveries and collaborative interactions involving complementary disciplines and expertise will aid in further understanding the molecular basis of this highly prevalent and deadly disease. CM investigators study important aspects of cancer development and are performing gene discovery research in model organisms ranging from fission yeast to human cells and tissues. Using the insights derived from basic research, members are developing novel therapeutic strategies and working with clinicians to implement them in clinical trials. All of these approaches play important roles in our overall goal of translating basic research advances in cancer to the clinical setting. 

Major Themes

The CM Program revolves around three major themes:

  • Theme 1 - To understand the role of cell signaling networks in cancer
  • Theme 2 - To examine epithelial organization and dysfunction to discover biology relevant to solid tumor malignancy
  • Theme 3 - To study chromatin regulation and repair in normal cells and their impact on tumorigenesis and tumor cell behavior

Program Leaders 

Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD
Ross Cagan, PhD

Program Meeting Schedule 

The CM Program regularly holds the following meetings:

  • Cancer Biology Seminar Series (weekly)
  • Cancer Club (weekly)
  • Center for Personalized Cancer Therapeutics (weekly)
  • CM Program Meeting (monthly)
  • Cancer Biology Retreat (annual) 

For more information on any of these meetings, please contact the program leaders.