I have an active translational science research laboratory that has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1992. Our work has centered on focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and its role in cancer. Our laboratory was the first to clone human FAK in the early 1990s and demonstrate its increased expression in invasive and metastatic cancers. We also were the first to show that inhibition of FAK expression induced apoptosis in tumor cells and we were pioneers in application of FAK antisense oligonucleotides in tumor treatment. We also demonstrated the importance of the scaffolding function of FAK in multiple pathways by discovering the interaction of FAK with Receptor Interaction Protein (RIP), tumor suppressor p53, and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 3. We have developed small molecule drugs that inhibit tumor growth through targeting these important protein-protein interactions and are actively pursuing them as novel therapeutic agents with pancreatic cancer as a major focus.
In addition, I am Program Director of an NIH T32 Postdoctoral Research Training in Surgical Oncology Grant. The overall objective of the program is to train clinicians from general surgical oncology and surgical subspecialties (gynecology, head and neck, neuro-oncology, thoracic and urology) to develop skills and expertise in basic science and translational research that will enable trainees to assume productive academic positions. Further information is located here.
I joined the faculty of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2008 as Chair of the Department of Surgical Oncology and Surgeon-In Chief. I am Board Certified in General Surgery. I treat patients with complex gastrointestinal cancers, with a special interest in pancreatic cancer. I also have a long standing interest in endocrine surgery, particularly in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid and parathyroid diseases including thyroid cancer. One of my special interests is in the treatment of hyperparathyroidism patients by parathyroid surgery using the technique of MIRP (Minimal Invasive Radio-Guided Parathyroidectomy). This minimally invasive technique utilizes intra-operative nuclear mapping resulting in a small scar in the neck region. During the last several years this has become the preferred method of removing hyperfunctioning parathyroid glands.
I am past President of the Society of Surgical Oncology, a member of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, American Association for Cancer Research, Society of University Surgeons, American Surgical Association, Society of Clinical Surgery, American Society of Clinical Oncology as well as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In addition, I serve on the Editorial Board of the Annals of Surgical Oncology and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. I have also served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Health.
Dr. Cance has been named as one of the Best Doctors in Western New York and Best Doctors in America.