Say goodbye to one-size-fits-all cancer treatments

Our research for cancer cures is driven by the desire to eradicate cancer. Our scientists are leading the future of cancer treatments by combining computational expertise with our unparalleled knowledge of mouse genetics.

  • The historical “one-size-fits-all” cancer treatment approach doesn’t work for everyone, and sometimes has done more harm than good.
  • Cancer still remains the second most common cause of death in the United States. While people are now surviving longer after a cancer diagnosis, fundamental questions about all cancers still exist: how cancer starts, grows, and why many people are resistant to current therapies.

JAX research for cancer cures: Accelerating progress for better cancer treatments

Unraveling the mystery of why cancer cells survive and thrive

The power of precisely profiling individual cancers will lead to tailored treatments for each cancer patient. In his lab, Roel Verhaak uses computational biology approaches to analyze genomic data sets from human patients (and dogs!) with brain tumors, with the main goal of improving understanding of therapy resistance.

This approach of understanding the patient genome and cancer will lead to new ways to target cancer without harming the patient, and even prevent cancer from developing in the first place.

Looking beyond DNA for targeted cancer therapies

Like many creative endeavors, movies contain only a fraction of the footage collected during filming. Indeed, hours of outtakes are removed — left on the cutting room floor — and never make it in to the final product.

Surprisingly, the genome has a cutting room floor, too. In her lab, Olga Anczuków is on the hunt for novel cancer therapies that can shrink a tumor or stop if from spreading. By studying gene splicing during normal breast and ovary development, Anczuków is learning how errors in this process lead to cancer.

Preserving fertility for women battling cancer

For female cancer patients of reproductive age, radiation and chemotherapy treatments pose a threat to fertility. Cancer researcher Ewelina Bolcun-Filas is working to by harnessing a natural process that prevents DNA damage to oocytes — the cells that develop into eggs.

Her work is advancing the development of drugs to prevent infertility caused by cancer-treating radiation.

Developing new strategies for tackling triple-negative breast cancers

A diagnosis of breast cancer is always devastating, but advances in research are pushing incidence and mortality trends in the right direction.

Researchers in the laboratory of JAX President Edison Liu have discovered a characteristic genomic fingerprint of triple-negative breast cancer, serous ovarian cancer and endometrial carcinomas — three of the deadliest cancers in women. Scientists found that this particular phenotype responds very well to a specific chemotherapy, cisplatin, offering a more effective treatment approach for these cancers.

Targeting acute myeloid leukemia before it starts

As we age, we grow more likely to develop cancer. In her lab, Jennifer Trowbridge wants to know why older people are more likely to get acute myeloid leukemia (AML). She is investigating aging stem cells that should be building blood cells but are developing cancer cells instead. 

As with all cancer, the earlier this leukemia is detected, the better the outcome for the patient. Trowbridge has figured out a way to profile blood tumor cells that offer a powerful new prognostic tool, allowing doctors to target AML before it takes hold in patients.