Translational Program - Lifetime Survivorship
To identify diagnostic tools, preventative interventions, and treatment targets that can reduce morbidity, restore or maintain health, and improve quality of life in cancer survivors.
The current programmatic focus involves bone fracture risk as a result of cancer or cancer treatment.
Current assessment of fracture risk in tumor-bearing bones lacks sensitivity and specificity, which has serious implications for determining when to use prophylactic bone stabilization. Developing an improved system for assessing fracture risk in tumor-bearing bones using finite element analyses to simulate loading of bones imaged by CT, combined with patient histories, is enabling us to develop more sensitive fracture prediction tools.
The detrimental effects of radiation therapy on bone are explored in terms of cellular, tissue, and structural damage. The role of bone matrix modifications, including collagen crosslinking, reactive oxygen species damage, and collagen fragmentation are investigated using in vivo and in vitro models. Parallel investigations into the roles of mesenchymal stem cells and hematopoietic stem cells, as well as osteoblast and osteoclast lineage cells in regulating changes in bone morphology, biochemistry, and function are also underway. This translational research program leverages the collective expertise of clinicians, engineers, and biologists with broad and complimentary backgrounds.