Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center Research Programs
The Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center has organized its research activities into seven programs to enhance interactions between investigators. Cancer research is generally categorized into several general areas or phases.
Basic Research: seeks to understand the normal biology and biochemistry of living organisms as well as understand how normal biology is disrupted leading to cancer. These disruptions to normal functioning are referred to as carcinogenesis or oncogenesis.
Translational Research: seeks to use basic understanding or biology and oncogenisis to develop methods of selectively destroying cancer cells or better stopping cancer from developing.
Clinical Research: takes ideas developed from basic and translational research and tests the new methods in human patients. In general a new, promising therapy is ultimately compared to the best current therapy to determine if the new therapy is superior.
Population-based, Epidemiological and Behavioral Research: studies large populations or subsets of populations to identify biological characteristics, behaviors or environmental factors that might lead to cancer.
Health Services, Outcomes and Comparative Effectiveness Research: studies the delivery of healthcare attempting to identify best practices and systems that lead to measurably better patient outcomes.
Researchers at the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center are engaged in all these areas of cancer research. Efforts to integrate this new knowledge to develop, test, disseminate and deliver new better therapies or prevention strategies is called translation.
Three of the Cancer Center's programs are fully translational in that researchers in the programs are engaged in each general area of research and work together around common problems for a patient population. Their members not only study the underlying biology and develop new therapies but also deliver these therapies in a comprehensive fashion to our patients. These three programs are:
These programs are supported by many sources of funding including philanthropy, competitive research grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) and several major program grants such as NCI SPORE grants in Breast and Lymphoma.
Basic Research Programs
Three of the Cancer Center's organized programs focus more on the earlier phases of knowledge generation in the areas of normal and tumor cell biology as well as processes that lead to carcinogenesis. Members of these programs often work with members of our other programs to translate this new knowledge into potential new therapies. These three programs are:
These programs are supported by many sources of funding including philanthropy but are primarily funded through competitive research grants from the NCI and other institutes of the NIH.
Prevention and Population Sciences Program
This program brings together investigators who employ various approaches to study patient populations and develop innovative approaches to preventing cancer through behavioral modification or other therapeutic interventions. Members of this program often collaborate with members in other programs to help identify the biology that leads to identifying higher incidences of cancer in populations. Members of this group also work to develop individual and community based interventions to reduce the incidence of cancer.
These programs are supported by many sources of funding including philanthropy but are primarily funded through competitive research grants from the NCI and NIH.
Development of new research programs is a key element in our strategic plan. Currently, there are three developing programs.
- Prostate Cancer
- Pancreas Cancer
- Gastrointestinal Cancer