Friday, June 20, 2014

A Look Inside the Comprehensive Cancer Center

A Look Inside the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Cancer Center currently has six major scientific programs including two basic science, two clinical research and two cancer prevention, control and population science programs.  The Center’s programs provide cancer investigators at UAB access to collaborations, resources and strategic direction that otherwise would not be available. The programs are listed below:

(1) Immunology, and Cancer Immuno-therapeutics: This program focuses on basic and applied immunology research into mechanisms by which cancer cells escape surveillance as well as innate immunological systems that function to control and eradicate pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. In addition, members undertake translational research into the area of developing cancer immuno-therapies.

(2) Cancer Cell Biology: The Program in Cancer Cell Biology includes members focused on basic research that provides insights into cellular mechanisms that are aberrant in cancer cells and mechanisms that can be targeted for therapies to treat cancer.

(3) Experimental Therapeutics: Research in this program is translational in nature. Members are focused on taking basic research discoveries and developing therapies and diagnostics from them. This includes drug discovery and development, preclinical research and clinical trials.

(4) Neuro‑Oncology: The interests of members of this Program range from basic cellular and molecular biologic studies of human glial tumors to clinical trial development using innovative therapeutics.

(5) Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Science: This program has built a major infrastructure for community‑based research with an emphasis on rural, poor, underserved populations in Alabama and Mississippi, an emphasis on cancer outcome disparities in minority populations

(6) Chemoprevention Program: Research conducted by members of this program is targeted at identifying agents that will prevent cancer in susceptible populations as well as the general population.  They build on basic discoveries to identify compounds and targets that have potential as preventative agents.

Shared Facilities

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center provides access to high-end equipment and technical expertise for cancer investigators. The Cancer Center Core Support Grant currently 13 shared facilities listed below:

(1)    Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Facility (BBSF): This facility serves as a focal point from which the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center's investigators may draw statistical and bioinformatics expertise for planning, management and analysis of their studies.

(2)    Clinical Protocol and Data Management (CPDM): The CPDM Shared Facility provides central management for the implementation, coordination, and conduct of clinical trials led by Cancer Center members.

(3)    The Community Recruitment and Retention (CRR): The CRR assists Cancer Center investigators in recruiting subjects to participate in clinical research and to provide linkage between the community and UAB Researchers.

(4)    The Comprehensive Genomics Facility:  The Comprehensive Genomics facility provides the latest technology in high-throughput nucleic acid sequencing and associated applications to UAB scientists through a collaboration with the HudsonAlpha Biotechnology Institute.

(5)    DNA Sequencing: It provides Cancer Center members access to a facility that provides traditional Sanger DNA sequence plus analysis in a cost-effective, timely manner.

(6)    Microarray: The Microarray facility provides support to Cancer Center investigators interested in utilizing microarray technology.

(7)    High Resolution Imaging: This core facility offers access to high resolution imaging facilities for members of the Cancer Center. The facility contains state-of-the-art Multiphoton Laser Scanning Microscopy, Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and digital microscopy equipment configured with deconvolution software and is staffed by experienced technical specialists.

(8)    Human Imaging: Cutting edge imaging technology and analysis for clinical research using PET-CT and MRI is provided by the Human Imaging Facility.

(9)    Molecular NMR: The primary objective of the facility is to provide “state-of-the-art” instrumentation for use by the Center members in their individual research programs and research related to the Center’s Core Programs.

(10)  Proteomics Research Facility: This facility provides the latest tools in mass spectrometry, proteomics, small molecule discovery, and clinical databases, allowing for a more in depth systems biology based overview of each cancer type

(11)  Small Animal Imaging: The facility supports molecular imaging applications for cancer, including early detection of cancer and therapy evaluation. The facility provides detailed imaging evaluation of new cancer treatments, and thereby accelerating translation to human trials.

(12)  Tissue Procurement: The Tissue Procurement Facility provides investigators with access to high quality human tumor and control tissues with associated histopathologic and demographic data.

(13)  Transgenic Animal/Embryonic Stem Cell (TAESC): The TEASC facility provides unique services for the development of genetically modified mouse models and has a long track record of outstanding service.

(14)  X-Ray Crystallography: The X-ray Crystallography Shared Facility provides state-of-the-art crystallography facility for Cancer Center members and other regional scientists.

By offering these programs and shared facilities, the Cancer Center provides the resources necessary to achieve its vision of eliminating cancer as a major public health problem.

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