The WVU Cancer Institute’s research programs combine the activities of investigators who have common scientific interests and participate in competitively funded research in order to achieve goals. These programs are highly interactive and lead to a more efficient exchange of information, advanced experimental techniques, and innovative ideas that enhance the individual productivity of scientists and encourage collaborations and joint publications.
With an emphasis on forward thinking and team building to leverage collective strengths, the cooperative environment of these research programs invites thought-provoking discussions around current research efforts and enables researchers to explore new approaches based on the feedback. The WVU Cancer Institute members are encouraged to move across disease teams as desired and no primary team affiliation is required. The emphasis in all venues is on collaboration in order to bring about positive outcomes for patients.
Breast Cancer Research Program
The areas of emphasis within the Breast Cancer Research Program include the development of novel patient imaging approaches in breast cancer, clinical trials, and the molecular genetics of breast cancer. Current members include clinical and research faculty with academic appointments in multiple departments, including Medicine, Surgery, Biochemistry, Cancer Prevention, Behavioral Medicine, Radiology, Health Promotions, and Communication.
Members attend a weekly conference to discuss the clinical presentation and planned treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. This conference facilitates regular interaction between clinicians, pathologists, and radiologists, and allows basic scientists to better understand the clinic. A monthly meeting then encourages the sharing of research results between program members, and an annual retreat focuses on in-depth presentations of collaborative projects and new opportunities for translational research.
There are several clinical protocols available for patients who wish to participate, spanning the clinical stages from pre-invasive lesions to Stage IV breast cancer.
The Breast Cancer Research Program is led by Michael Ruppert, MD, PhD, Jo and Ben Statler Chair for Breast Cancer and professor of Biochemistry, and Elena Pugacheva, PhD, associate professor of Biochemistry, in the WVU School of Medicine.
Alexander B. Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program
The Alexander B. Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program, also known as the Osborn Program, focuses on basic and translational research around such themes as bone marrow as a unique tumor microenvironment, regulation of therapeutic response in hematologic malignancies, and stem cell development with an emphasis on factors that regulate the utility of stem cells in the transplantation setting.
Benefitting from diverse membership, which includes clinicians, basic scientists, engineers, and statisticians, the program strives to support development of individual scientific endeavors while identifying emerging themes of strength from which to build multi-investigator projects and interdisciplinary connections with our partner programs. Monthly meetings and annual retreats provide a consistent forum for an exchange of ideas, mentoring, and project development.
The Osborn Program is led by Lori Hazlehurst, PhD, professor in the School of Pharmacy.
Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Lung Cancer Research Program
The Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Lung Cancer Research Program is dedicated to the expansion of lung cancer research. Current areas of emphasis include fundamental carcinogenesis and molecular signature prognostic models for patients. With West Virginia having one of the highest rates of lung cancer mortality in the nation, this clinically focused program is a vital target for strategic research development.
The Lung Cancer Research Program is led by Yon Rojanasakul, PhD, Robert C. Byrd Distinguished Professor and Benedum Distinguished Professor in the Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences.