Local group funds cancer research at UC Santa Cruz

Scott Lokey
Jevgenij Raskatov
Seth Rubin
Zhu Wang
Date: 
Friday, September 18, 2015
Author: 
Tim Stephens, UCSC Public Information Office

The Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG), a local charity supporting cancer research and patient care, has awarded grants of $12,500 each to four researchers at UC Santa Cruz: Scott Lokey, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Jevgenij Raskatov, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Seth Rubin, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Zhu Wang, assistant professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology.

In the past, pilot projects funded by these small grants from SCCBG have enabled UCSC faculty to obtain preliminary results that led to much larger grants from the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies. 

Lokey, who directs the UCSC Chemical Screening Center, will use the grant to search for compounds that could improve the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy drugs. He plans to run a pilot-scale screen of 23,000 compounds housed in the Chemical Screening Center.

Raskatov is interested in the role of inflammation in cancer. He will use SCCBG funds to start a new research project focused on developing inhibitors of a pro-inflammatory signaling process thought to be involved in carcinogenesis.

Rubin's lab has made important findings regarding a key tumor suppressor protein and is starting a new project focused on another regulatory molecule involved in cancer, the FoxM1 transcription factor. Understanding how FoxM1 is activated will aid in the development of potential cancer therapeutics.

Wang has been investigating the mechanisms of prostate cancer initiation and is expanding his research into bladder cancer, which has not been well studied despite being a major cause of cancer-related deaths and one of the most costly cancers to treat. He plans to use novel gene editing technologies to build a new model of bladder cancer in mice.

The SCCBG has been supporting cancer research at UC Santa Cruz since 2005. The group holds several annual events to raise funds for the programs it supports. More information is available on the SCCBG web site.