VCU Massey Cancer Center


Massey member directory

For members: update your profile »

« Back to member list

Martin K. Safo, Ph.D.

Director, Structural Biology Shared Resource

Research program member: Developmental Therapeutics

Box 980581
800 E. Leigh St.
Richmond, VA 23298




Professor, Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy


PhD, University of Notre Dame (1991)

Research description

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common and the third most lethal cancer worldwide. Currently, surgery is the most effective treatment with curative potential, but it is associated with a mediocre 5-year survival rate of 60%. Pyruvate kinase is responsible for the final rate-limiting step of glycolysis and ATP production required for supplying energy critical for cancer cell survival. Downregulation of the pyruvate kinase isoform PKLR is known to suppress cancer progression of HCC and thus represents a novel route to a highly targeted, anticancer, therapeutic drug. Our group is targeting the inhibition of PKLR as a means to control cell proliferation and tumor growth of liver cancer. Our long-term objective is to introduce a novel class of anticancer drugs with minimal side effects.

Research keywords

Animal models,Apoptosis,Drug discovery

Published research

Search In PubMed