"Discovery is our Business." Charles Huggins (Nobel Prize Laureate)

Welcome to the Ben May Department

All were hooded at our Divisional Academic Ceremony where Kay Macleod served as the student-selected Faculty Marshall. Lauren Drake, Marina Sharifi, Erin Mowers, Aparajita Hoskote Chourasia, Michelle Beaton.(L to R)

Five PhDs awarded in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research

Faces of Ben May Dept. of Cancer Research View the Gallery

Faces of BMDCR

Biography of Charles Brenton Huggins

"With blood on the hands I have chance, seated at the desk I have no chance." Charles Brenton Huggins (Nobel Prize Laureate) Click Here for Biography of Dr. Huggins

Biography of Charles Brenton Huggins

Welcome to the Ben May Department for Cancer Research

Our vision is a future where cancer is eliminated by total cure or managed by chronic treatment that enables a high quality of life.

The mission of the Ben May Department is embodied in the motto of our founder, the late Nobel Prize winner Charles Huggins: "Discovery is our Business."  In that spirit of discovery, our researchers are pushing the boundaries of understanding and challenging the assumptions that often impede progress.  We believe the first step toward preventing or curing cancer is basic research on the intricacies of the human body and the molecular, cellular, and genetic events that lead to cancer.  Advances in our fundamental understanding of cancer can then be translated into better methods of prevention and diagnosis.

Latest News and Announcements

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Steroid receptor crosstalk informs therapies for breast cancer treatment

Geoffrey Greene, PhD published in Scientific Advances

One of the first clues pathologists look for in tissue from a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient is the estrogen receptor, a nuclear protein that converts hormonal messages in the bloodstream into instructions for the cell about how to behave. They also look for the presence of progesterone receptors, primarily to confirm that the estrogen receptor is active.

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Commensal Bifidobacterium promotes antitumor immunity and facilitates anti–PD-L1 efficacy

Dr Thomas F. Gajewski published in Science


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Stopping cancer in its tracks

Disrupting autophagy, a cellular housekeeping process, limits cancer spread

Researchers from the University of Chicago have shown that inhibiting autophagy, a self-devouring process used by cells to degrade large intra-cellular cargo, effectively blocks tumor cell migration and breast cancer metastasis in tumor models. In a study, published May 12, 2016, in the journal Cell Reports, they demonstrate that the process is essential for tumor metastasis and describe the mechanisms that connect autophagy to cell migration.

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UChicago, Evelo Biosciences sign licensing deal for microbiome-based cancer therapy

By Rhianna Wisniewski APRIL 21, 2016

Evelo Biosciences and the University of Chicago have entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement to develop and commercialize a microbiome-based cancer immunotherapy.

The cancer therapy, developed in the laboratories of Thomas Gajewski, professor of medicine and pathology at UChicago, employs select gut microbes to boost the immune system’s attack on cancer cells and improve the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs.

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How mitochondria play a role in breast cancer when the body forgets to do the housekeeping

If you took biology class in high school, you likely learned about mitochondria. Nestled inside our cells, these organelles are often depicted in textbooks as kidney bean-shaped structures floating outside the nucleus. Mitochondria’s main role is to produce the energy our cells need to function. But, a new study from the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that mitochondrial health plays a large part in breast cancer growth and progression too.

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New Protein Modifications Unlock Clues about Disease

With the recent publication of two high-impact research papers, biochemist and cancer biologist Yingming Zhao, PhD, professor of the Ben May Department for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago, is charting new territory in the understanding of post-translational modifications by describing novel ‘marks’ on histones and metabolic enzymes.

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