Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Research Program

Developmental Cancer Therapeutics program themesThe Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Research Program at Hollings Cancer Center focuses on discovering and characterizing important cancer-specific metabolic and stress pathways, identifying novel therapeutic agents, and translating mechanism-based discoveries into effective cancer therapies. Cancer-specific metabolic networks and stress pathways provide unique targets for diagnostic or prognostic biomarker discovery and for therapeutic intervention.

These goals are realized through a multi-level approach that includes monthly program meetings, program-specific seminars, transdisciplinary research teams, intramural funding and training opportunities, investments in existing and new shared resources and targeted recruitment of faculty.

The program consists of 30 basic and clinical scientists drawn from nine departments distributed across MUSC’s colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy.

Thematically, it is organized around these aims:

  • Lipid signaling and metabolism: To identify alterations in cancer-specific sphingolipid, prostaglandin, and glycolipid metabolic pathways, and to develop therapeutic strategies that target these pathways
  • Cancer stress response pathways: To identify the mechanisms whereby oxidative stress, mitochondrial function/bioenergetics, and kinase-mediated cellular signaling regulate tumor cell biology
  • Drug development and clinical trials: To develop anti-cancer drugs and conduct early-phase clinical trials that are relevant to the state’s population and that complement ongoing scientific programs at Hollings Cancer Center

Program Co-Leader

Michael  B. Lilly, M.D.

Michael B. Lilly, M.D.

Professor of Medicine

College of Medicine

Academic Focus

  • Genitourinary malignancies
  • Acute leukemia

 Research Profile

Program Co-Leader

Dr. Ogretmen

Besim Ogretmen, Ph.D.

Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

College of Medicine

Academic Focus

  • Sphingolipid metabolism; Lipid signaling
  • Cancer cell death pathways
  • Mechanisms of cancer therapeutics

 Research Profile

Featured Research

Besim Ogretmen, Ph.D.

What does hair loss have to teach us about cancer metastasis?

An innovative study looking at hair loss in a preclinical model reveals clues to how cancer spreads in a recent issue of Science Signaling.

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have identified one mechanism that regulates signaling events leading to cell migration and metastasis, showing that primary cilia act as a focal point to transmit growth signals. They also identified a specific ceramide species (produced by ceramide synthase 4 [CerS4]) that disrupts the ability of cells to form this focal point.

Additional Research Programs

Shared Resources

To ensure cancer investigators have access to specialized technology and research services, the Hollings Cancer Center supports shared resources that are efficient, cost-effective and provide the latest industry standards for enhanced scientific productivity.

Shared Resources

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