Cancer Therapeutics Program

The Cancer Therapeutics program (CRX) is designed to advance translation of discoveries to the clinic. CRX brings together all investigator-initiated clinical trials (Aim 3) as well as preclinical development of cancer immunology and immunotherapy (Aim 1) and cancer imaging, drug delivery, and image-based technologies (Aim 2).

Key goals of CRX are to identify promising new discoveries and technologies and then to support collaborations and other opportunities to bring these technologies to clinical trials, licensing, and clinical development. The ultimate goal of this program is to reduce the burden of cancer in the catchment area and beyond, especially for cancers of high incidence or mortality in the catchment area (breast, colorectal, lung, and melanoma).

CRX has two co-leaders (Kim Kelly, PhD and Charles Landen, MD) with expertise in immuno-oncology, translational cancer biology, biomedical engineering, clinical trials, and start-up companies.

Aim 1. Elucidate immunologic features of tumor microenvironments, and preclinical development of cancer immunotherapy agents.

Goals of this aim are to advance understanding of cellular interactions in tumor microenvironments that are crucial for the success of immune therapies and to develop new immunotherapy agents, including adoptive cellular therapies, bispecific antibodies, and combinations of immune modulators. The work of this aim is enhanced by new recruitments, investment in adoptive cell therapy, and a new cGMP facility.

Aim 2. Innovations in cancer imaging, image-guided therapies, and drug-delivery technologies.

Investigators in this aim are developing innovative approaches to deliver cancer therapies more effectively while reducing toxicity. These include engineering new materials to encapsulate small molecule drugs; developing image-guided therapies, such as focused ultrasound, for more effective drug delivery to cancers; and using imaging to guide therapy, interrogate systemic drug response, and drive patient treatment selection.

Aim 3. Investigator-initiated clinical trials of novel therapeutics, combinations, and imaging.

This aim supports investigator-initiated clinical trials, particularly those focused on cancers with high incidence or mortality in the catchment area. The work of this aim is supported by substantial UVACC investment in recruiting new clinical investigators and creating a Protocol Development Team (PDT) and the Molecular and Immunological Sciences Translational Core (MITS).

Learn more about program members and their research interests.