Center for Environmental and Molecular Carcinogenesis
C. Marcelo Aldaz, M.D, Ph.D, David Johnson, Ph.D
and Richard Wood, Ph.D, Co-Directors
Environmental factors, which include diet and other lifestyle factors, are known to be involved in the etiology of most cancers. The aims of the CEMC are to define the step-wise molecular and cellular alterations that occur during the process of carcinogenesis; determine how environmental exposures cause key genetic mutations and epigenetic changes that underlie carcinogenesis; and discover the impact of environmental factors on the generation and maintenance of cancer stem cells. This center fosters collaborations among researchers at MD Anderson Smithville, in Houston and with other instutions in central Texas to reach the goal of understanding how environmental exposures influence cancer outcomes in the human population by identifying new targets and strategies for cancer prevention and treatment.
The vision of the CEMC is to make significant contributions to the understanding of the causes of cancer and to develop novel ways to detect, prevent and treat cancer. The Center theme is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of cancer and define how environment, diet, genetics and epigenetics influence susceptibility to developing cancers.
CEMC researchers are characterizing the impact modulating energy balance through diet and exercise on carcinogenesis. Other researchers will focus on elucidating the mechanisms by which specific dietary components affect carcinogenesis.
Historically, funds provided to support the CEMC have been used to establish, maintain, and enhance state-of-art shared resources. For example resources that aid in the development of animal models. Such animals are critical to identify and verify new targets for the prevention of cancer. The findings discovered in animal models are translated into preclinical mechanism-driven prevention studies that will ultimately inform epidemiologic studies and lead to clinical trials in humans. A grant program will be developed to support innovative pilot projects involving collaborative research. An enrichment program will provide value-added activities that will foster interaction and collaboration among CEMC members and MD Anderson faculty members. The CEMC has also supported the Lost Pines Conference over the last several years.
David Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor, Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis
The Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center
at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park, Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 389, Smithville, Texas 78957
Physical Address: 1808 Park Road 1C, Smithville, Texas 7895