The scientists within the Division of Hematology Oncology focus on understanding the molecular basis of cancer, with the overall goal of developing new and better treatments for the disease. Interests of the research faculty include molecular biology of red cell differentiation, genetic epidemiology of lung cancer and the relationship between cancer and metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
The Division of Hematology Oncology is directly involved with the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials. In addition, the division is involved in a number of programs and research projects. Our current key research activities are briefly outlined below.
Experimental Therapeutics Program:
The Experimental Therapeutics Program is a phase-1 clinical trial unit based at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute, led by John C. Morris, MD. Phase-1 clinical research trials are the first step in moving tested scientific concepts from the laboratory bench to bedside, and are intended to evaluate safe dosages, method of administration (oral or injection) and treatment frequency.
Immune Therapy Strategies for Cancer:
The laboratory of John C. Morris, MD focuses on the development of therapeutic strategies for lung cancer and the use of immune stimulating cytokines and vaccines to stimulate the immune system to prevent or destroy cancer. They have specifically focused on targeting lung cancer stem cells.
Theragnostic Drug and Biomarker Discovery and Development:
Led by Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, the TDBD laboratory focuses on developing a new saposin C coupled dioleoylphosphatidylserine (DOPS) nanovesicle which has the potential to offer a targeted, potent, broad and safe therapeutic agent for cancer patients.
In the Translational Research Core, Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, focuses on developing biochemical, molecular or cellular assays that are tailored to a specific translational research question associated with a specific clinical trial. His research encourages, supports and facilitates the interactions between biomedical investigators, surgeons and clinicians by collaborating and data sharing in order to accelerate the process of applying discoveries generated into the development of trials and studies in humans.
The laboratory of Zhongyun Dong, PhD, focuses on prostate cancer biology, angiogenesis, and prostate cancer therapy. The lab has determined and demonstrated that TGF-b-regulated IL8 expression may contribute to prostate cancer progression. In addition, the lab has shown that adenoviral vector-mediated intratumoral delivery of IFN-b gene could significantly inhibit angiogenesis in animal model of human prostate cancer and that IFN-b or its gene could be an effective therapy for advanced prostate cancer.
Hemostasis Research Program:
In the laboratory of Vladimir Bogdanov, PhD, the research currently under way focuses on two major areas spanning the fields of vascular biology, cancer research, and post-transcriptional regulation of Tissue Factor (TF) expression. The first area of focus is on examining the functions of TF splice variants in the vasculature and role they play in such disease states as thrombosis, cancer progression, and their combination. The second area of focus is the post-transcriptional regulation of TF expression in several cell types including monocytes/macrophages.
Cancer Genomics and Biomarker Development Lab:
In the laboratory of El Mustapha Bahassi, PhD, the focus is using genetic principles to understand cancer biology and then use the information to change the way patients are treated. He uses synthetic lethality and other genetic principles such as oncogene addition and genetic interaction mapping to identify novel mechanisms of cancer drug resistance, as well as identifying novel drug targets for therapy.
Proteasome-based Therapies in Hematologic and Solid Tumors:
Currently, in the laboratory of James Driscoll, PhD, the focus of research is, to identify novel targets for the treatment of hematologic malignancies, to identify gene signatures that predict response to therapy and also to design novel therapeutic agents and translate findings from the bench to the bedside.
mTOR Signaling, Cancer and Autophagy Lab:
With regard to the role of the mTOR/S6K pathway in diabetes, the laboratory of Sara Kozma, PhD, and Carol Mercer, PhD, has demonstrated that S6K1 is involved in regulating pancreatic beta cell development. Her group is currently studying the role of mTOR signaling in hepatocellular carcinogenesis.