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Research Highlights

February 2014

Seed Funding Research Program Grant Awards

We congratulate the three investigators who received awards this round.

The eighth round of Duncan Family Institute Seed Funding Research Program awards have been completed. These awards will provide funding at $50,000 per year for two years for a total of $100,000 to support research in the broad topic of cancer prevention and risk assessment in order to allow faculty to obtain preliminary data to improve competitiveness of cancer prevention and risk assessment research grant proposals submitted to external agencies.

Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Gut microbiome:  integrating risk pathways in obesity and colorectal neoplasia

 

Guang Peng M.D., Ph.D.
Targeting the threshold of replication stress as a novel approach for pancreatic cancer prevention

 

Terri Woodard, M.D.
Challenging Choices: Developing a Decision Aid to Help Women with Cancer Make Good Decisions about Fertility Preservation

 

Gut microbiome:  integrating risk pathways in obesity and colorectal neoplasia

Bacteria residing in the gut have been linked to diet, energy balance and obesity, all of which are key exposures involved in the development of colon polyps and cancer.  Our study takes an integrative approach to comprehensively investigate the link between the vast community of gut bacteria (or microbiome), obesity, and the risk of colorectal polyps.  In the long-term, this research will inform the development of non-invasive screening tools and future intervention trials targeting favorable changes in gut bacteria to reduce obesity and colorectal cancer.

Targeting the threshold of replication stress as a novel approach for pancreatic cancer prevention

One of the most earliest and universal genetic alterations observed in pancreatic cancer is activating mutations in the KRAS oncogene, which are present in 90%-95% of cases. In this project, we will work to develop a novel strategy for pancreatic cancer prevention by targeting replication stress, a molecular property of premalignant that is acquired as a result of KRAS oncogene activation instead of targeting KRAS oncoprotein itself. The overall objective of this proposal to systematically identify chemical inhibitors of DNA2, a key molecular node of the DNA repair network, upon which premalignant and cancer cells with KRAS oncogene-induced replication stress depend for survival. It is anticipated that we will discover novel DNA2 inhibitors from this study, which can be used as a new class of chemopreventive agents with exquisite selectivity against premalignant cells with KRAS oncogene-induced replication stress but sparing normal cells.

Challenging Choices: Developing a Decision Aid to Help Women with Cancer Make Good Decisions about Fertility Preservation

Cancer-related infertility causes emotional distress, even as long as ten years after successful cancer treatment.  Many women have difficulty making a decision about whether to preserve fertility or not.  The purpose of this research is to design and produce a web-based decision aid that helps women make decisions that are consistent with their personal values.  By providing this support, we can alleviate and prevent emotional distress, improving the survivorship experience of women with cancer.

Mentored Junior Faculty Fellowship

Applications are being accepted for the Duncan Family Institute Mentored Junior Faculty Fellowship in Cancer Prevention Research. 

Read more.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center