Understanding the impact of cellular and organismal stresses on cancer cell mechanisms and impact on cancer therapies and therapy-related consequence

How can we use the principles of biophysics — like radiation, heat and light — to treat cancer?

Roswell Park was the birthplace of clinical photodynamic therapy (PDT) in the 1970s — and our world-renowned research program is continuing that success in advancing our understanding of cell stress and biophysics in oncology.

In addition to PDT, the expertise among our multidisciplinary team includes thermal therapy/heat shock proteins (HSP), tumor hypoxia and oxidative stress, radiation/oxidative DNA damage/repair, biophysics of chromatin and membrane, and circadian regulation.

Program leaders

Program goals

  • Goals of the Cell Stress CCSG Program
    The key goal of the Cancer Stress Biology Program is to understand the mechanisms of cellular and organismal stresses and use them to improve the outcome of existing cancer therapies and to develop new and improved treatment approaches.
  • Understand the interplay between different types of stresses at the organismal level including their effect on metabolism, the immune system and tumor development and response to therapy
  • Understand the mechanisms of how tumor cells can exist in constant stress, such as metabolic dysregulation, elevated level of DNA damage, disorganized chromatin, altered circadian regulation, etc.
  • Develop novel cancer treatment strategies based on biophysical principles that target a key aspect of tumor cell vulnerability – existence in constant stressed conditions
  • Uncover mechanisms and approaches to protect normal cells, but not tumor cells, from stresses associated with cancer treatment
  • Develop novel strategies to prevent and treat cancer therapy-induced bystander injury
  • Bring them to clinical fruition by facilitating interactions with clinicians and basic scientists in other programs
  • Provide a training ground for these novel treatment approaches

We coordinate this research across three program themes:

  • Discovery and development of new treatment approaches to target major tumor cell vulnerability – existence in permanent stress
  • Effect of stress in immune system and immune modulating effects of different types of stress
  • Molecular mechanisms of different types of cellular stress and their interactions

Research spotlights

Anurag Singh, MD

Cancer Patients Who Are Most Worried About Finances Shown to Have Worse Outcomes

“The association we found was very strong, and very concerning. If you are worried about your finances, your risk of dying is roughly double.”

Read the Press ReleaseSee the Science

Hemn Mohammadpour

Roswell Park Suggests New Strategy for Controlling Graft vs. Host Disease in Blood/Marrow Transplant Recipients

“We’re looking for a Goldilocks effect — a ‘just right’ zone where acute GVHD is diminished without decreasing the GVT effect.”

Read the Press ReleaseSee the Science

More research highlights

Contact us

Sarah Marcy
Program Administrator
Phone: 716-845-3055
Email: Sarah.Marcy@RoswellPark.org

Bruce Specht
Department Administrator
Phone: 716-845-1065
Email: Bruce.Specht@RoswellPark.org