Division of Cancer Biology

The NCI’s cancer biology is accomplished through the Division of Cancer Biology (DCB) that manages a multidisciplinary program of basic and applied research on cancer cell biology. The most areas dealt with are such as research on carcinogenesis and cancer immunology. The division of cancer biology (DCB) has six sections that support a variety of broad-based investigator-initiated research grants from academic institutions, research institutes, and small businesses. Figure 3: Cancer Biology programs

First, Cancer Cell Biology section usually supports and encourages basic research projects covering a broad spectrum of topics aimed at understanding the biological basis of cancer. The portfolio researched on are in terms of the search for proteins and networks responsible for the cancer phenotype, investigation of aberrantly modified regulatory processes that promote cell proliferation or inhibit cell death, and the identification of connecting pathways that ensure tumor cell survival.

The research purely utilizes non-mammalian organisms as well as mammalian models to undertake the functional analysis of oncogenes and tumor suppressors in parallel with studies on human tumor cells and tissues. This program of NCI is the discovery of new information that has practical application to disease detection or treatment. The second program is the Cancer Etiology Branch that is responsible to develop and manage a national extramural research program dealing with biological, chemical, and physical agents that are possible etiological factors or co-factors in cancer and with the control of these agents and their associated diseases.

The program utilizes specific agents of interest include infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria and chemical carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and hormones. The third section is the Cancer Immunology and Hematology Branch which supports basic research in tumor immunology and the biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of the hematologic malignancies such as leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma.

The major areas are: immune response to tumors; receptor biology/signal transduction cascades; cytokines; antibodies and antibody genes; T-cell biology; oncogenes; the biology of hematopoietic tumors like AIDS lymphomas; immunologic aspects of bone-marrow transplantation; the biology of antigen-presenting cells and nonspecific effectors of the immune system like natural killer cells; granulocytes and macrophages; hematopoietic differentiation; and the stem cell biology of hematologic malignancies.

The fourth program is DNA and Chromosome Aberrations Branch is responsible for supporting basic cancer research program that emphasizes cancer genetics and genomic studies at the DNA and chromosome level, which including discovery of genes at sites of chromosome breaks, deletions, and translocations; RNA interference, epigenetics, radiation- and chemical-induced changes in DNA replication and supporting analytical technologies; studies of DNA structure and mechanisms involved in chromosomal aberrations; DNA damage, mutagenesis and repair, chromatin remodeling and transcriptional regulation of gene expression.

The fifth program involves the Structural Biology and Molecular Applications Branch that focuses on structural and molecular approaches to understanding processes involved in carcinogenesis and tumorigenesis. The sixth category is the Tumor Biology and Metastasis Branch that focuses on the supports research that seeks to understand the interactions of cancer cells with the tumor or host microenvironment to delineate the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways of tumor growth, angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, cell migration and invasion, and tumor progression and metastasis.

This includes examination of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions and matrix-degrading enzymes, and the roles played by cellular growth factors and cytokines, cell adhesion molecules, cytoskeleton, the nuclear matrix and lamins, the pathobiology of solid tumors and tumor bearing animals, and the development of technology to facilitate these studies. This area pays special attributes to the importance of microenvironment created by inflammation and the inflammatory signaling molecules in tumor initiation and progression, and elucidating the role of tumor stem cells in tumor initiation and metastasis.

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