Division researchers are exploring the molecular mechanism of environmental carcinogenesis and developing the Dynamic BH3 Profiling (DBP) in Patient-Derived Organoids (PDO) from live patient tumor samples.
With this model, researchers are testing whether the DBP-PDO platform will predict which drugs prime the mitochondria toward tumor cell death. Investigators are developing this BH3 profiling technique for use in solid thoracic cancers with the goal of providing patient-specific, precision treatments by specific targeting of anti-apoptotic proteins that cause therapeutic resistance. This exciting research is a departure from most current approaches, focusing on downstream targets that sidestep tumor cell mutations that have so often frustrated treatment efforts.
Researchers within the division are engaged in the study of the biology of mesothelioma, and have made Baylor’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center one of the nation’s leading centers for treatment and diagnosis. A number of clinical trials are already underway, and a thoracic tissue bank has been established in partnership with faculty in the Division of General Surgery and other research leaders in the Department of Surgery.
General Thoracic surgeons have also partnered with biotech industry to expand the capabilities of minimally invasive surgery (MIS). Funded through the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), a new MIS surgical device is being developed that will allow surgeons better continuous visualization of the surgical field and decrease operative times.