Cancer

Cancer Research at Creighton University

Cancer research at Creighton University focuses on saving lives by finding new ways to treat, prevent and detect cancer. Researchers from disciplines ranging from biomedical sciences to physics investigate breast cancer, head and neck cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, prostate cancer, and skin cancer, among others. Often working collaboratively and attacking a problem from multiple angles, their work offers hope for a future where more cancers are treatable and treatment options are better.

In the field of hereditary cancer, School of Medicine professor Henry T. Lynch, MD (shown above) is a visionary who has been at work for more than five decades. He identified a link between genetics and some cancers at a time when the idea was thought to be ludicrous, and developed the principles of cancer genetics. He and his team in Creighton’s Hereditary Cancer Prevention Clinic, which he founded in 1984, continue to study Lynch Syndrome to help patients identify risk early.

In biomedical sciences, Sándor Lovas, PhD, works to identify peptides to target molecules that may contribute to causes of smoking-related diseases. Lovas relies on computational chemistry to process his data, and recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) award to boost the computational power available to researchers across the university. In the lab of Laura Hansen, PhD, she and her team examine skin cancer at the molecular level. Hansen and Lovas are part of an interdisciplinary team who have steadily been working on research related to LB595, a program funded by the state to examine cancer and smoking related diseases. Hansen has identified novel signifying molecules that might serve as targets for treating cancer.

In addition to working with Hansen, Lovas, and the rest of the LB595 group, Xian-Ming Chen, MD, in medical microbiology and immunology, focuses on breast and prostate cancer. His current work examines how to prevent infection in the compromised immune system of cancer patients. Also in medical microbiology and immunology, Patrick Swanson, PhD, studies leukemia and lymphoma at the DNA level.

Another member of this group, Yaping Tu, PhD, in the Department of Pharmacology, studies prostate cancer and breast cancer. Tu recently received an award from the National Institutes of Health to study factors behind the resistance of breast cancer cells to promising treatments.

Andrew E. Ekpenyong, PhD, and Michael Nichols, PhD, in the Department of Physics are examining how cancer drugs work at the cellular level and how such drugs could better combat metastasis, the spread of cancer from one part of the body to the other.

Together, Creighton’s faculty and student researchers are expanding the horizons of discovery and removing barriers to conquering cancer.