NFCR RESEARCH CENTERS
Over the last four decades NFCR created and sustains five specialized cancer research centers around America. NFCR funded science programs include 50 top research laboratories in the United States and around the world. The scientists that we support are conducting leading-edge research around the clock on all major types of cancer. They are leading the way in the most critical areas of cancer research.
Click here to view the research achievements accomplished by NFCR scientists in 2014
The NFCR Center for Metastasis Research provides a platform for scientists from different research institutions and with different expertise to work together in the search for more effective ways to stop the lethal spread of cancer. Under the direction of Dr. Danny Welch, the Center is uniting efforts of leading investigators from six research institutions, including the University of Kansas Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, The Pennsylvania State University, Utah State University, The University of Delaware, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
The NFCR Center for Molecular Imaging at Case Western Reserve University is focused on developing new diagnostic tools, which can "see" cancer cells at the molecular level by visualizing cancer-speciﬁc biomarkers. Directed by James P. Basilion, Ph.D., work on developing this advanced technology is allowing doctors to detect cancer at early and more treatable stages. Because this approach is non-invasive (no tissue samples need to be taken from the patients), molecular imaging has also become a critical tool for evaluating treatment efﬁcacy, monitoring the earliest signs of cancer recurrence, and developing new anti-cancer therapies that are more tailored to individual patients.
The NFCR Center for Therapeutic Antibody Engineering is focused on targeted immunotherapy treatment through engineered human antibodies. Led by Dr. Marasco, researchers a focusing on proteins that bind only to cancer cells through recognition of unique antigens. This biding then produces an immunological response against the cancer cell, generating tumor-ﬁghting effects that are less harmful to normal cells than traditional cancer treatments.
The NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Arizona, is dedicated to discovering novel and effective therapeutics to treat pancreatic cancer. The center is co-directed by Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, one of the top oncologists in the United States and, and Dr. Lawrence Hurley, a renowned medicinal chemist in the ﬁeld of drug screening and development. The Center is developing new therapies which block the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by interfering with pancreatic cancer-promoting molecules - an approach called targeted cancer therapy.
The NFCR Center for Cancer Systems Informatics at M.D. Anderson, led by Director Wei Zhang, Ph.D., provides a dedicated computational environment for NFCR supported cancer genome projects. The critical efforts of this bioinformatics approach are invaluable in helping researchers develop new hypotheses about cancer biology – like which genes are promising targets for new drugs. To meet the need for experimental validation of bioinformatics results, the Center also contains an experimental arm that conducts laboratory experiments for data validation.
NFCR RESEARCH FELLOWS
This program is currently providing long-term and flexible funding to the distinguished and well-established scientists who are leaders in their respective research fields with close connections to research hospitals.
This unique funding approach enables NFCR Fellows to perform innovative research in the laboratories and collaborate with clinicians in the hospitals to convert the potential life-saving discoveries into actual applications to benefit cancer patients.
Web Cavenee’s research is directed at defining the genetic lesions in human cancer, determining their physiological significance and using that information for therapeutic approaches.
Yung-Chi Cheng, Ph.D., is a leading expert on biochemical and molecular pharmacology, specializing in cancer and viral chemotherapy.
Dr. Civin is a pioneer in cancer research who is known for developing a way to isolate stem cells from other blood cells, a field-opening discovery that is now used extensively in leukemia and stem cell biology research, clinical stem cell transplantation and leukemia diagnosis.
Dr. Dvorak's research is concerned with the steps and mechanisms of pathological angiogenesis – the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.
Dr. Hong is a world renowned scientist and the foremost authority on the treatment and prevention of lung, head and neck cancers.
Susan Horwitz’s research focus is on identify new agents that can circumvent the problem of Taxol drug resistance.
Rakesh Jain’s research focuses on Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest malignant primary brain tumor in humans.
Paul Schimmel’s research focuses on the components in cells that are responsible for protein synthesis and the genetic code – aiming to learn how they might be used to turn off a variety of disease processes, including infectious microorganisms, viruses, and cancers.
Dr. Sies is a leading expert in cancer prevention research through nutrition.
Dr. Yung and his team of researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center are working to develop a smarter, individualized, patient-oriented approach to GBM therapy.
NFCR PROJECT DIRECTORS
This program is designed to encourage outstanding scientists to explore previously uncharted territories in search of the hidden causes of cancer. This research approach cultivates healthy academic competitions and provides scientists a precious opportunity to validate their most innovative ideas.
Dr. Robert Bast is a world leader in ovarian cancer research who discovered the first clinically useful tumor biomarker for monitoring the course of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
Kathryn Horwitz research into breast cancer is committed to understanding the role that sex hormones play in the development and progression of the disease and the cause of resistance to anti-estrogen drugs, such as tamoxifen.
Esther Chang, PhD, a microbiologist at Georgetown University's Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., has focused her research efforts on testing new therapies while administering existing, proven medications.
Dr. Jin Jen is a leading lung cancer researcher with extensive experience in genetic and gene expression analysis. As the director of the Gene Expression Core (GEC) at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, she is a specialist in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) approaches to cancer research.
Dr. Laurence Cooper is an innovative researcher focused on developing a novel immunotherapy which kills leukemia and lymphoma cells by boosting a patient’s own immune attack.
Dr. Paul Fisher is a leading microbiologist who has developed an engineered virus to create a novel gene therapy approach for treatment of cancer. The laboratory and preclinical results of this gene therapy have been encouraging in pancreatic cancer, and will be extended to treatment for prostate cancer.
Dr. Alice Shaw is a leading thoracic oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Shaw is working to develop targeted strategies to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), particularly how certain types of NSCLC become resistant to genetically targeted therapies.
Dr. Daniel Haber focuses mainly on identifying genetic abnormalities in tumors. His research team recently designed a new cutting-edge microchip-based device which can pick up very rare cancer cells that have entered the blood from their originating organs, such as the lungs.
Dr. Michael Sporn is a molecular biologist and pharmacologist at Dartmouth Medical School whose central research focus has been chemoprevention, or the use of medications to stop the development of cancer. Dr. Sporn has served as the head of the Lung Cancer Unit and Chief of the Laboratory of Chemoprevention at the National Institutes of Health.