Faculty in the biomolecular pharmacology training program are very actively engaged in research directed toward uncovering the molecular and cellular underpinnings of cancer and the discovery of new technologies and biomaterials for the delivery of therapeutic agents. Our goal is to better target the relevant site of cancerous tissue in order to develop better treatments and ultimately cures for this category of lethal diseases.
There are many experimental approaches in active use by the faculty. For instance, a novel mouse model for diffuse large B cell lymphoma has been identified and malignancies in humans are being modeled as well. The mechanisms by which acetylation alters histone action in and controls the growth of human lymphomas is a key area of research.
Survival signaling in cancer, particularly the Akt-Bcl2-NFkappaB pathways and the mobilization of transcriptional networks that promote proliferation and survival in tumors, represent important new directions for therapeutic intervention. Using the tools of biomedical engineering our faculty mentors are also developing new ways to grow tumor cells on novel 3-dimensional substrates so that their behavior can be studied in the form of structures present in nature.
Several research teams are using novel biomaterials as vehicles for the discovery of drug delivery with the goal of targeting anti-cancer agents to increase efficacy and decrease off target untoward side effects. Next generation targeted delivery anti-cancer drugs will have improved efficacy and reduced toxicity as compared with traditional anti-metabolite and genotoxic drugs. As a team, BU Pharmacology researchers are working together with their students, postdoctoral fellows, and research technicians to identify novel targets for the control and elimination of cancerous growths as well as screening for the ligands that may become the drug classes of the future.