The Center for Translational Cancer Research

Research shows that cancer cells can poison normal cells



Cancer Breakthrough

A team of researchers from the University of Delaware, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix and Therapy Architects LLC in Wilmington, Delaware, has reported that cancer cells can actually cause neighboring normal cells to exhibit cancer-like behavior. The research is documented in the current online edition of the Journal of Cell Science.

The researchers used a three-dimensional co-culture system where they grew normal cells and cancer cells together, mimicking the situation inside the body. 

They found that cancer cells produce an enzyme — a protease — which splits a cell-cell adhesion molecule called E-cadherin from normal cells. The action of the protease liberates the segment of E-cadherin that projects outside the cells. This segment, designated soluble E-cadherin, or sE-cad, then associates with a signaling molecule called epidermal growth factor receptor on normal cells and converts them to cancerous cells. Full story on Udaily here.


Mangone Scholar

Behavioral neuroscientist Tania Roth has received the Mangone Young Scholars Award for her accomplishments as a researcher and educator.

Tania L. Roth, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Delaware, has been selected by the University’s Francis Alison Society to receive the 2015 Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholars Award.

The award recognizes promising and accomplished young faculty. The recipient is chosen by fellow faculty members who have received the Francis Alison Award, the University’s highest competitive faculty honor. Full story  on UDaily here.


Tiny drug carriers

UD researchers are part of a team working to develop targeted treatment that will deliver anticancer medication directly to leukemic cells using nanoparticles, an approach designed to mitigate side effects.

A team of researchers from the University of Delaware, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and Jefferson Medical College has reported success with a targeted treatment approach that delivers anticancer medication directly to leukemic cells using nanoparticles. The research is documented in a paper published in the current issue of Molecular Pharmaceutics, an American Chemical Society journal. Full story here at UDaily.


UDance record

The UDance student philanthropy announced during its annual dance marathon on Sunday that it has raised a record-breaking $1.28 million in donations to fight childhood cancer.

Students and staff at UD participated in a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer that culminated in Sunday’s 12-hour dance marathon. This year, the event raised $1,282,103.30 for the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, which provides financial assistance to families struggling to fight the disease as well as research toward finding a cure. Full Story here at UDaily.


'Mustache Madness'

When it comes to helping a good cause, the University of Delaware men’s lacrosse program has proven it can get the job done in a big way.

The annual fall fundraising campaign in support of the HEADstrong Foundation through the Lacrosse Mustache Madness program raised a record $122,000 when the final tally was announced last month. The total surpassed the previous record of $108,000 set in 2013.

Over 52 fundraising teams grew mustaches for the cause this year but it was the Friends of University of Delaware Men’s Lacrosse anchored by legendary men’s lacrosse coach and Lax Stache Hall of Famer Bob Shillinglaw who made Lax Stache history, raising a record breaking $27,331. The Blue Hens easily outdistanced runner-up HEADstrong Lax Texas ($13,931) and Friends of University of Richmond Men’s Lacrosse ($10,030). Full story here at


Winners at the 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore

Nineteen undergraduate science students from the University of Delaware presented their research on Oct. 25 at the 17th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, a competition that drew nearly 250 students from 14 states.

UD students competed in 18 of the 36 groupings at the symposium, held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and received five first-place and four second-place awards.The students' attendance at the symposium was sponsored by the University's Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Undergraduate Science Education Program.  Full story here at Udaily


UD researchers demonstrate that processing can affect size of nanocarriers for targeted drug delivery

Significant advances have been made in chemotherapy over the past decade, but targeting drugs to cancer cells while avoiding healthy tissues continues to be a major challenge. 

However, recent work by a group of researchers led by Thomas H. Epps, III, and Millicent Sullivan in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware has shown that routine procedures in handling and processing nanocarrier solutions can have a significant influence on the size and shape of these miniscule structures. 

Their findings are reported in a paper, “Size Evolution of Highly Amphiphilic Macromolecular Solution Assemblies Via a Distinct Bimodal Pathway,” published in Nature Communications on April 7.

Full story here at Udaily


UD-led team discovers molecule that may help fight cancer drug resistance

Researchers have discovered that USP1-UAF1, a protein known as deubiquitinase, may be a key regulator of the DNA damage response and a target for overcoming resistance to platinum-based anticancer drugs.

Now, a group of researchers led by Zhihao Zhuang, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware, has discovered that a deubiquitinase (or DUB) complex, USP1-UAF1, may be a key regulator of the DNA damage response and a target for overcoming resistance to platinum-based anticancer drugs. Their findings were published in the online version of Nature Chemical Biology on Feb. 16.

Fullstory here at Udaily


Leadership of statewide biomedical research program announced

Leadership appointments have been announced for the Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE). This statewide program is building Delaware’s biomedical research capability by developing research in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular health and the neurosciences, providing key research resources and enhancing the biomedical science and technology knowledge of the state’s workforce.

Since its inception in 2001, the program has secured $45 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $5 million from the state of Delaware to renovate laboratories and to develop shared or “core” instrumentation centers. The program also has supported over 50 biomedical pilot research projects and trained hundreds of students at partnering academic and clinical institutions across the state.

Full story here at Udaily


Event supporting fight against childhood cancer raises money, student awareness

The second annual Hair for Hope event to support the fight against childhood cancer was held Sunday afternoon, Nov. 17, at the University of Delaware’s Louis L. Redding Hall. 

The event, created by UD senior Amanda Cahill benefits the B+ Foundation and Children With Hair Loss. Full story here at Udaily



UDance performs '90s-themed flash mob in battle against pediatric cancer

UDance, the University of Delaware’s largest student-run philanthropy, captured the attention of hundreds of students as they performed their annual “flash-mob” outside of Memorial Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Students were informed through social media posts by UDance that there was a “surprise” that day, but the actual event was kept secret until “Backstreet’s Back” began blasting on The Green, starting off the 90s-themed flash mob for 2013.

Full story here at Udaily.


UD researcher delivers annual talk at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Kenneth van Golen, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Delaware and a noted expert on inflammatory breast cancer, delivered the 2013 Susan E. Donelan Hope for the Future Lecture at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The annual lecture series focuses on inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a relatively rare, highly aggressive and much more deadly type of breast cancer than the typical form of the disease. As this year’s invited lecturer, van Golen spoke on Oct. 2 at the institute and also met individually with researchers from its Women’s Cancer Program.

Full story here at Udaily.


UDance board raises funds with run, encourages year-round support

UDance executive board members recently participated in a 5K run, and are encouraging year-round support of the fight against childhood cancer.

On June 20, UDance board members participated in the 5K for the Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation. The B+ Foundation was founded by Joe and Chris McDonough after their 14-year-old son Andrew lost his life to leukemia and sepsis in 2007. 

Since that time, the foundation has not only been raising money to provide childhood cancer research grants but also providing financial assistance to families who are battling the disease.

Full story here at Udaily.


New drug shows promise in ability to fight rare type of breast cancer

Researchers in the University of Delaware's Department of Biological Sciences are investigating a new drug that has shown positive results in early tests of its ability to fight a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.

A small, pilot study of the drug found that inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) tumors in mice — which grew to four times their original size in a 10-day period if untreated — remained stable in size when treated with the drug. When a small amount of a traditional chemotherapy drug, which has limited effectiveness in IBC, was combined with the new drug, the number of tumor cells was cut in half.

Full story here at Udaily.


A UD doctoral student's drug delivery dissertation has earned recognition from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Vinu Krishnan, a University of Delaware doctoral student thinks, “What you can’t see may actually help you.”

Krishnan is studying nanotechnology-based drug delivery under the supervision of A.K. Rajasekaran, adjunct professor of materials science and engineering at UD, and director of basic cancer research program at the Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, and Xinqiao Jia, UD associate professor of materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering. Full story here at Udaily.


Campus community to unite for annual UDance marathon


UDance, a 12-hour philanthropic dance marathon that unifies the University of Delaware campus community and raises awareness of pediatric cancer, will be held from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday, March 10, at the Delaware Field House on South College Avenue.

UDance is the University's largest student-run philanthropy and has donated more than $900,000 in six years of existence. This past year alone, the organization doubled five years of effort by raising over $450,000, a representative said.

Full story here at Udaily.


Cancer Compound Funded, Dr.'s Sikes and Koh Awarded $200,000 Grant for Prostate Cancer Drug Candidate 

Could a compound developed by two University of Delaware faculty members be a new line of defense against prostate cancer? Robert Sikes, director of the Center for Translational Cancer Research (CTCR) and associate professor of biological sciences, and John Koh, associate director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, believe they have indeed invented a new class of cancer-fighting antiandrogens. Now, with a recent $200,000 QED proof-of-concept grant, equally funded by the QED Program and UD, they have the chance to prove it. Read more about it in the UDaily article here.



Nanotechnology for drug delivery shows promise in treatment of pediatric leukemia

Nanotechnology developed by Delaware scientists could potentially deliver chemotherapy to children in a way that attacks cancer cells without harming healthy cells, greatly reducing side effects.

The work, conducted by researchers in the University of Delaware's Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research, was published this month in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Read more about it in the UDaily story here.


DBI announces Delaware Bioscience Center for Advanced Technology

The Delaware Biotechnology Institute has announced the Delaware Bioscience Center for Advanced Technology (Bioscience CAT)  - A program to synergize efforts among the academic and industrial life science communites in Delaware.  With support from the state of Delaware, the Bioscience CAT provides grant opportunities to faculty and investigators from around Delaware that are working collaboratively with Delaware bioscience bioscience businesses, including those that are members of the Delaware BioScience Association (Delaware Bio). Read more about it in the UDaily article here.


We Work for Health honors Sen. Carper during ceremony at Delaware Biotechnology Institute

U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper was honored with the Champion of Jobs Creation Through Innovation Award presented by the Delaware chapter of We Work for Health during a ceremony hosted by the Delaware BioScience Association (Delaware Bio) and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) on Friday, Dec. 9. We Work for Health is a grassroots initiative focused on improving America’s health care system. Carper, a UD alumnus, was recognized because he “has long supported key legislative issues impacting the biotech industry, most recently including the America Invents Act, demonstrating his commitment to protecting jobs in Delaware,” according to a press release about the event. Read more about it in the UDaily article here.


DSHA funds projects addressing hypertension, childhood cancer, autism

The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) has selected three teams of investigators for funding through its pilot grant program.  The 18-month awards—for projects addressing hypertension, childhood cancer and autism—will start on Nov. 1.  Led by Daniel Elliott at Christiana Care Health Systems (CCHS), the first team will establish a better foundation for patients and physicians to work together in managing high blood pressure, or hypertension. Previous studies have investigated either medication non-adherence, in which patients do not correctly follow prescribed medication regimens, or therapeutic inertia, in which providers do not intensify medications in the face of poor blood pressure control. This study will use linked pharmacy data to better understand the association between the two in routine practice.  Read more here in the UDaily article.


Social scientists share research on health care policy

What is the role of empathy in preclinical medical education? What is the connection between low birth weight and future susceptibility to chronic disease? What are the causes of obesity in underserved populations?  Three University of Delaware faculty members discussed their scholarship in these and related areas at a research colloquium on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The event was part of an ongoing effort to forge new connections between health and social sciences.  Read more about it in the UDaily article here.




American Cancer Society Goes Virtual

The American Cancer Society first reached out to virtual volunteers through the Relay For Life in Second Life in 2005, and continues to empower these volunteers through a Second Life virtual office which opened on ACS ISland in June 2007.  Since 2005, the American Cancer Society has raised more than $950,000 in Second Life.  To learn more about how ACS has reached out to Second Life and how you might like to participate, read the ACS article here.


Lights For The Cure Turns Skyline Pink For 10th Year 

LIGHTS FOR THE CURE, the area’s first public service campaign that used the lighting of buildings and landmarks to promote a cause, will light up the skyline pink for the 10th year in a row this October in an effort to encourage women to schedule a mammogram as well as celebrate breast cancer survivors and honor those who lost their battle with this disease.  Launched in 2002 by CBS 3 and the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the campaign started with just 19 buildings and now includes more than 100 participating buildings and landmarks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. To read more about the event that runs through the month of October, please go here.



UD Vollyball team supporting breast cancer

The University of Delaware volleyball team will do its part to help support breast cancer awareness on Saturday night during the Hens’ 7 p.m. match against Georgia State.  In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, fans are all encouraged to wear pink to the match. Prior to the contest, there will also be pledge drive to raise funds for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition to help the organization’s fight to raise awareness for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. To learn more about supporting breast cancer awarness read more here.


Getting the word out about prostate cancer

 Prostate cancer survivor Ben Fay counts himself among the lucky ones. When he was diagnosed, the cancer cells had already spread beyond his prostate into nearby lymph nodes and the seminal vesicles. Even with radiation and permanent hormone therapy, his doctors weren't optimistic. Fay himself didn't expect to live to see the 21st century.Fourteen years later, he's glad to prove everyone wrong. In that time, the 82-year-old Wilmington man has dedicated much of his time to raising awareness about prostate cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men. He is part of a group of survivors and health professionals who recently formed the Delaware Prostate Cancer Coalition, a statewide organization with the goal of educating men about screening and treatment options.  Read more in the DelawareOnline article Here.




Research team develops exercise interventions for breast cancer survivors 

For women dealing with breast cancer treatments and side effects, exercise may be one of the last things they think about. Nancy Getchell and Lynnette Jones believe it should be one of the first.   Getchell, a faculty member at the University of Delaware, and Jones, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand, are collaborating on research to guide the development of appropriate exercise programming for breast cancer patients and survivors.  “We’ve found that an individualized approach to exercise is tremendously beneficial,” says Jones, who has been working in this area for the past two years. “Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormonal therapies affect each woman differently.”  Read more here in the UDaily article.


UD researchers publish paper on CHO-K1 cell genome sequencing

The Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell is one of the most preferred hosts used to manufacture therapeutic proteins -- genes that are added to "cell factories" to produce proteins that are later turned into medicines. Protein therapeutics need a clean and controlled environment to grow in, and the CHO cell, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, provides this. In addition, CHO cells are able to produce complex, human-like proteins for the treatment of disease. But what has eluded scientists until now is precisely how and why the CHO cell behaves as it does. “Scientists are constantly working on ways to make as much of a protein in a host cell as possible, in the best, safest, and the most economical way possible,” says Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. The growth and behavior of the host cell can affect the protein being made, so figuring out how cells work at the genetic level will allow scientists to better manufacture these medicines to treat a wide range of human diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.  Read more here in the UDaily article.


Third annual DHSA Research Symposium features talks by two national experts

More than 230 participants attended the third annual Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) Research Symposium at the Dorrance Hamilton Building on the Thomas Jefferson University campus on May 17.   The symposium was held to showcase existing joint programs among the DHSA institutions and to explore new opportunities to enhance translational research collaborations.  The event featured a panel on DHSA-related issues, reports on current and future DHSA pilot grants and individual breakout sessions aimed at enhancing translational research across the partner institutions.  In addition, research teams displayed 42 posters covering a broad range of health-related topics from cerebral palsy and cancer to tissue engineering and data warehousing. Read more here in the UDaily article.


Biological sciences group fights brain cancer in, out of lab

A University of Delaware research laboratory, the only group in Delaware to do basic research on brain cancer, also fought this deadly disease by participating in the 4th annual Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation “Get Your Head in the Game” awareness walk held April 30 in Wilmington. The UD research team of Deni Galileo, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, raised more than $1,050 for the foundation. It was the second year the lab group participated. Research in the Galileo lab focuses on the malignant glioma called glioblastoma multiforme, a type of cancer that arises from cells in the brain and spreads rapidly. Read more about the event here in the UDaily article.




Annual INBRE research symposium showcases biomedical research

Biomedical researchers from across the state of Delaware gathered in Dover on April 28-29 for the annual Delaware INBRE research symposium and board meeting. Hosted at Delaware State University, the event included a keynote address by an official of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); presentations on cancer, cardiovascular, and neuroscience research; and a poster session.  Keynote speaker Michael Weinrich, director of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, offered new investigators in the audience some practical suggestions for writing successful research proposals.  Read more here in the UDaily article.

Biomedical capacity grows through INBRE

Four researchers affiliated with the Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program, which is aimed at building the state’s biomedical research capacity, have been awarded grants for pilot projects.  The new awards bring the program total to 18 projects. A fourth pilot research project will be supported by state of Delaware funds linked to the NIH INBRE program. Prof. Csilla Szabo will explore the genetic contribution of breast cancer susceptibility genes to health disparities.  Szabo is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware. Read the UDaily article here.


Learn about life science research facilities, get chance to win $1,000 in services

The 2011 INBRE Core Open House will be held Friday, April 22, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center on the Christiana Care Health System campus.   “Our goal for this year’s Core Open House is to inspire not only research ideas but encourage communication, networking and the creation of an open forum for generating the latest scientific breakthroughs using available skills and equipment already here in Delaware,” says Rebekah Helton, research associate with the Delaware Biotechnology Institute Bio-Imaging Center and the Center for Translational Cancer Research Center Core Facility at UD. Helton serves on the organizing committee for the event with Katia Sol-Church and Terry Pedicone, both from Nemours/A. I. duPont Hospital for Children.  The event is designed to present an overview of the life science core equipment and services available at the Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) partner institutions.  Read more about the event in the UDaily article here.


DHSA issues call for proposals

The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) has issued a call for pilot grant applications for new biomedical research projects in basic or translational research. Five-page applications are due by Wednesday, June 15, with an expected start date of Sept. 1. Grants will provide up to $75,000 in funding for projects 12 to 18 months in duration. Successful applications must include at least one collaborator from each of the four DHSA institutions. Read the UDaily article here.


New guide helps cancer patients manage symptoms

Cancer patients can be hit with a nasty array of symptoms and side effects, from anemia and anxiety to hair loss and hot flashes. Some of these problems can be so overwhelming that they cause patients to abandon life-saving treatments. But effective management of unpleasant symptoms can yield better outcomes for patients, and oncology nurse Carlton Brown has written a book to help with that process. A Patient's Guide to Cancer Symptom Management presents clearly written descriptions of 22 symptoms and their causes, as well as ways to prevent and treat them. Each chapter deals with a specific symptom and ends with a list of resources for more information about it.  Read more about the book in the UDaily article here.


Researcher studies rare type of breast cancer

For University of Delaware researcher Kenneth van Golen, the advances made in recent years in treating breast cancer have a bittersweet element.  The disease on which he focuses -- inflammatory breast cancer, or IBC -- is relatively rare, far less studied and much more deadly than the common form of cancer that is the subject of a great deal of scientific research, fundraising drives, media attention and public education campaigns. All those efforts have paid off in earlier detection and more effective treatment for common breast cancer, which affects the largest number of women, and van Golen wholeheartedly applauds the progress that has been made. Read the UDaily article here.


Student wins federal grant for prostate cancer research

Lisa Ann Gurski, a doctoral student in the University of Delaware's Department of Biological Sciences, has been awarded the three-year award from the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.  The award is a prestigious and highly competitive federal research grant used to study the spread of prostate cancer, using a special gel in which she grows the cancer cells. Read the UDaily article here.


Powerful new microscope puts UD at forefront in biomedical imaging

The University of Delaware is now one of only a handful of universities with a microscope so powerful that researchers can measure a single molecule within a cell. The instrument, a Zeiss LSM780 laser-scanning confocal microscope recently installed in 304 Wolf Hall, was purchased through a $496,000 competitive grant awarded to UD from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and an additional $65,000 from the Department of Biological Sciences. Melinda Duncan, professor and director of graduate programs in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Kirk Czymmek, associate professor of biological sciences and director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) Bio-Imaging Center at UD, developed the successful proposal. Read the UDaily article here.


DBI highlights research by doctoral students, postdoctoral scientists

The Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) hosted its third Research Symposium at the end of May, to highlight the research being carried out by doctoral students and postdoctoral scientists. Organized by Tom Hanson, associate professor of marine biology and biochemistry, and Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences, both at the University of Delaware, the day's purpose was to nurture the internal community of science at DBI. Read the full article on UDaily here.