Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Cancer Molecular Genetics

Program co-leaders
Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D.
Jolene J. Windle, Ph.D.

VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Cancer Molecular Genetics (CMG) research program consists of a multidisciplinary group of 22 investigators from eight academic departments in VCU School of Medicine and VCU School of Dentistry who share a common interest in the genetic and epigenetic changes that underlie the molecular and cellular events contributing to cancer development and progression.

 

The CMG program is a newly formed program resulting from the restructuring of the former Cancer Cell Biology program into two smaller and more cohesive programs, CMG and Cancer Cell Signaling.

 

Scientific goals

  • Defining the genes contributing to cancer development and progression

  • Identifying the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating expression of these genes in normal and cancer cells

  • Determining their role in governing the properties and behaviors of cancer cells

  • Identifying mechanisms by which identified defects in cancer cells can be exploited to selectively induce cancer cell death

  • Using this knowledge to develop innovative approaches for the treatment of currently intractable cancers 

To promote the achievement of these goals, the CMG program provides a highly interactive and collaborative research environment to facilitate scientific exchange within the program and with members of the other Massey research programs. In addition, the CMG program provides a resource of expertise in various technologies, including gene discovery and characterization, the use of high throughput screening approaches to identify new and improved small molecules for cancer therapy (in collaboration with the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA), the use of state-of-the-art gene delivery technologies for gene therapeutic approaches to cancer treatment and the development of animal models for defining the function of newly discovered genes as well as sensitive models permitting in vivo imaging of cancer development, progression and response to therapy.

 

Objective

The central scientific objective of the CMG program is to identify the critical genes and genetic and epigenetic alterations that promote or suppress cancer initiation and progression, with the ultimate goal of using this information to develop new rational target-based therapies for the safe and effective treatment of cancer.