The Center for Translational Cancer Research

Cancer Genetics

Cancer cell transformation occurs as a consequence of damage to DNA that changes its code. These changes in DNA may be due to environmental agents, introduced by viruses, inherited, or a combination of these occurrences. CTCR researchers are using state-of-the-art technology to pioneer new gene-based treatment methods. Some individuals are predisposed to certain forms of cancer because they inherited these cancer risk genes from their parents. The High Risk Family Cancer Registry in Delaware was created to find new cancer risk genes to foster early cancer detection. A recently funded project allows University of Delaware students to participate in the collection, collation and interpretation of high risk family data with the aim of developing new tests for cancer risk. Other lab-based collaborative projects seek directly to repair damaged genes by guiding the natural DNA repair machinery inside of cells. Small DNA molecules themselves are being used to stop cancer cell growth and cause cancer cell death without harming normal cells. Small RNA molecules (micro RNAs) and silencing RNAs (siRNAs) are being used to turn off specific cancer causing genes. Additionally, pathways that turn cancer genes on and off are being targeted by small molecules designed by CTCR affiliated chemists or provided by biotech and pharmaceutical collaborators.