Skip to main content

Research News

Researchers develop new nanoparticle to boost immune system Researchers develop new nanoparticle to boost immune system
Vanderbilt researchers have developed a new nanoparticle that can more effectively get drugs inside of cells to boost the immune system and fight diseases like cancer.
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024
Vanderbilt nanodrug may be a paradigm shift for cancer Vanderbilt nanodrug may be a paradigm shift for cancer
A multidisciplinary research team at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center has discovered a new way to kill a tumor by disrupting its acidic microenvironment without harming normal tissue.
Wednesday, February 7th, 2024
Vanderbilt’s Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell to be appointed director of the National Cancer Institute Vanderbilts Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell to be appointed director of the National Cancer Institute

Kimryn Rathmell MD PhD MMHC the Hugh Jackson Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center will be appointed Director of the National Cancer Institute.


Friday, November 17th, 2023
Tumor antigens key to improving cancer immunotherapy: study Tumor antigens key to improving cancer immunotherapy study

Vanderbilt researchers are working to better design immune therapies that attack tumors without also attacking healthy normal tissue in patients.


Friday, November 17th, 2023
Crowe, Osheroff honored by AAMC Crowe Osheroff honored by AAMC

Vanderbilts James E. Crowe Jr MD and Neil Osheroff PhD are among 12 individuals honored by the Association of American Medical Colleges during its 2023 Awards Recognition Event.


Monday, October 30th, 2023
Vanderbilt-led team receives 2023 Endeavor Award from The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Vanderbilt-led team receives 2023 Endeavor Award from The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research
A multidisciplinary team of investigators has received a 2023 Endeavor Award from The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research to support four closely linked projects exploring the fundamental mechanisms that drive the obesity-cancer connection
Tuesday, October 24th, 2023
Marjan Rafat wins Biomedical Engineering Society Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator Award Marjan Rafat wins Biomedical Engineering Society Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator Award
Chemical and biomedical engineer and cancer researcher Marjan Rafat has received the Young Innovator Award from the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering division of the Biomedical Engineering Society. The CMBE Young Innovator Award is a distinguished honor for young faculty in the biomolecular engineering field.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
CTTC Announces the Awardees of the 2023 Master Innovator Recognition Program CTTC Announces the Awardees of the 2023 Master Innovator Recognition Program
Vanderbilts Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization named Richard Caprioli C. David Weaver Susan Eagle and Franz Baudenbacher 2023 Master Innovators. The yearly recognition program acknowledges Vanderbilts top innovators and entrepreneurs for their contributions to the creation development and commercialization of intellectual property.
Tuesday, September 5th, 2023
Novel research could provide better analysis of EVPs’ roles in diseases, cancer Novel research could provide better analysis of EVPs roles in diseases cancer
Vanderbilt engineering professor Justus Ndukaife is leading innovative research that more effectively traps nanosized extracellular vesicles and particles to analyze their roles in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Monday, August 14th, 2023
Nancy Cox receives American Society of Human Genetics Leadership Award

Nancy Cox PhD director of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute is the recipient of the 2023 ASHG Leadership Award from the American Society of Human Genetics.


Wednesday, July 26th, 2023
Nanotechnology repaves the path for cancer-fighting T cells Nanotechnology repaves the path for cancer-fighting T cells
Vanderbilt researchers are bolstering the fight against cancer with technology that enhances the effectiveness of T cells that attack tumors.
Tuesday, May 9th, 2023
Better adenoma detection Better adenoma detection
Fluorescent nanoparticles clearly identified colonic adenomas precursors to colorectal cancer in mice and the formulation should translate to clinical use in humans.
Thursday, May 4th, 2023
Research identifies new target that may prevent blood cancer Research identifies new target that may prevent blood cancer

An international coalition of biomedical researchers co-led by Vanderbilts Alexander Bick MD PhD has determined a new way to measure the growth rate of precancerous clones of blood stem cells that one day could help doctors lower their patients risk of blood cancer.


Wednesday, April 12th, 2023
3d rendered illustration of blood cells with droplets HDL-cholesterol and breast cancer risk
Genetic analyses suggest that high circulating HDL-cholesterol levels may increase breast cancer risk — a surprising finding since increased HDL-cholesterol is thought to be healthy.
Friday, January 24th, 2020
stomach illustration VUMC study sheds light on gastric cancer development
VUMC researchers have created the world’s first laboratory model of precancerous changes in the lining of the stomach, a scientific tour de force that is helping to unlock the mysteries of gastric cancer development.
Friday, January 17th, 2020
cancer in genetic code Study finds breast cancer recurrence score has different implications for men
A study published last year offered good news for women with early-stage ER-positive breast cancer who scored at intermediate risk for recurrence. However, a new study finds this conclusion may not directly apply to male patients with the same type of breast cancer
Monday, December 23rd, 2019
cells dividing Cell fate signaling
A newly identified protein interaction that affects cell cycle regulation may be an attractive target for cancer therapy.
Sunday, December 22nd, 2019
dividing cell Understanding cell division
Vanderbilt researchers have uncovered another piece in the puzzle of how cells divide — a process that goes awry in cancer cells.
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
Moonshot group 2019 NCI ‘Moonshot’ grant to boost hereditary cancer identification
VUMC is leading an initiative to establish a streamlined process for collection of family health histories that could set the stage for a standardized system to make the information easily accessible.
Friday, November 15th, 2019
computer medicine graphic VICC takes leading role in international cancer database project
VICC is one of three institutions launching the first phase of a collaboration to advance precision oncology through the creation of a clinico-genomic dataset with an international reach.
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
yogurt High fiber, yogurt diet associated with lower lung cancer risk
A diet high in fiber and yogurt is associated with a reduced risk for lung cancer, according to a study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers.
Monday, October 28th, 2019
pink bracelets for breast cancer awareness Another way to detect lymphedema
Early detection of lymphedema, which occurs in 20% of patients following breast cancer treatment, may improve therapeutic options for patients.
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
3d DNA illustration Completing DNA synthesis
James Dewar and colleagues have identified a role for the enzyme topoisomerase II in reducing replication errors during the final stage of DNA synthesis.
Monday, October 21st, 2019
Xiao Ou Shu Study finds men have higher mortality rate after breast cancer diagnosis
A new study shows men with breast cancer are more likely to die than their female counterparts, across all stages of disease.
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
3D Illustration of Human Heart Anatomy Study identifies targeted therapy’s cardiac risks
After a recent study showed that chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients who received ibrutinib as a frontline treatment had a 7% death rate, a new study offers a clearer picture on the reasons for the deaths.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
A step toward gastric cancer A step toward gastric cancer
New research findings provide insight into the detrimental events that develop in response to H. pylori infection.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
medical samples Potential prostate cancer biomarkers
An analysis of more than 140,000 people of European ancestry has identified blood protein biomarkers associated with prostate cancer risk.
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
DNA analysis Study backs genetic testing for all metastatic breast cancer patients
Testing for all metastatic breast cancer patients may be an optimal strategy for identifying additional patients with increased risk as well as response to targeted therapies.
Friday, September 6th, 2019
zanic journal cover art The plus and minus of microtubules
 

Understanding the dynamic regulation of cytoskeletal microtubules may suggest new ways to treat disorders ranging from Alzheimer's disease to cancer.


Friday, September 6th, 2019
intestines illustration Colorectal cancer researchers receive SPORE funding
Colorectal cancer researchers from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) have been awarded a Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Saturday, August 31st, 2019
women in pink Grant strengthens breast cancer research efforts
Breast cancer researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have secured a fourth round of continuous Specialized Program of Research Excellence funding.
Saturday, August 31st, 2019
dimmer switch A “rheostat” for cancer signals
 

Jason MacGurn and colleagues have characterized a “rheostat” that sets WNT pathway signaling in breast cancer cells.


Friday, August 30th, 2019
3D Illustration of Pancreas Pancreatic cancer clue
Inflammation synergizes with a cell’s intrinsic genetic program to promote the development of pancreatic cancer.
Friday, August 30th, 2019
colon cancer cells Protein’s role in inflammation-related cancer studied
Investigators are exploring the molecular mechanisms behind the association of chronic inflammation and colon cancer.
Friday, August 30th, 2019
melanoma on forehead Potential second-line melanoma treatment identified
A study led by Anna Vilgelm, MD, PhD, and Ann Richmond, PhD, has identified a possible second-line treatment for melanoma patients.
Friday, August 30th, 2019
prostate cancer cells New prostate cancer treatment concept
Combining immunotherapy and radiation therapy may be a powerful treatment approach for castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Friday, August 30th, 2019
Michael Savona Grant bolsters research on myelodysplastic syndromes
Michael Savona, MD, professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, and director of Hematology Research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has received a competitive grant award from the Edward P. Evans Foundation.
Friday, August 9th, 2019
fibroblast and collagen New window on fibrosis
A previously unrecognized role for a cell surface receptor may open new therapeutic options for the treatment of fibrotic diseases.
Friday, August 9th, 2019
cancer metastasis illustration Cellular soldiers designed to kill cancer cells that get loose during surgery, stop metastasis
Cellular soldiers created using the body’s own defenses can track down and kill escaping cancer cells during surgeries, preventing metastasis and saving lives, a Vanderbilt University biomedical engineer has discovered, particularly in cases of triple negative breast cancer.
Friday, July 26th, 2019
dna repair illustration Team’s study reveals details of new DNA repair pathway
Investigators have discovered how a DNA repair pathway protein shields sites of damage to avoid mutations and maintain genome integrity.
Friday, July 26th, 2019
brain scan Encephalitis identified as rare toxicity of immunotherapy treatment
Researchers are chronicling rare but serious toxicities that may occur with immune checkpoint inhibitors, the most widely prescribed class of immunotherapies.
Monday, July 22nd, 2019
bandages A critical factor for wound healing
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center scientists have discovered a role for a tumor suppressor protein in skin wound healing.
Friday, July 19th, 2019
Jeffrey Rathmell Center for Immunobiology grows, bolsters program
The Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology has relaunched its mission with a greater focus on human immunology, an endeavor supported by additional researchers, more funding support and designation as a Center of Excellence.
Friday, July 19th, 2019
lung cancer metastasis Clinical study tests drug that may prevent cancer metastasis
A clinical study of a drug that may block cancer metastasis is currently enrolling patients at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
Thursday, July 11th, 2019
imaging scanner Potential probe for early ovarian cancer
Larry Marnett and colleagues have developed what may become the first agent for targeted PET imaging of cancer tissues, such as ovarian cancer, that express high levels of the COX-1 enzyme.
Saturday, June 29th, 2019
African American patient with doctor Health disparity for blacks exists within lung screening guidelines
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines that determine which smokers qualify for CT scans exclude significant numbers of African Americans who develop lung cancer, a health disparity that merits modifications to lung cancer screening criteria, according to a study from Vanderbilt researchers.
Saturday, June 29th, 2019
Study details regulation of a multi-drug transporter Study details regulation of a multi-drug transporter
 

Vanderbilt University researchers have discovered how a protein pump distinguishes between chemicals that it will expel from a cell and inhibitors that block its action - findings that could guide the development of more efficient inhibitors to prevent cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy.


Thursday, May 30th, 2019
William Tansey Researchers putting the brakes on lethal childhood cancer
 

A recent study suggests that blocking the MYC protein could be “unexpectedly effective” in treating malignant rhabdoid tumor (MRT) is one of the most aggressive and lethal childhood cancers.


Friday, May 3rd, 2019
Preston Research Building Cancer Center’s annual scientific retreat set for May 1
 

The 20th Annual Scientific Retreat will be held Wednesday, May 1, 8:30 a.m.


Thursday, April 25th, 2019
cancer cells graphic Like racecars and geese, cancer cells draft their way to new tumor sites
 

Finding gives boost to fighting cancer through cell metabolism


Friday, April 5th, 2019
drug discovery plate Cancer’s SOS
 

Uncontrolled activation of RAS causes approximately a third of all tumors and helps cancerous cells evade anti-cancer drugs. Vanderbilt researchers have identified small molecules that target this pathway and further defined how these small molecule compounds work.


Thursday, April 4th, 2019
VICC Ambassadors 2019 Cancer Center Ambassadors surpass $1 million in grants
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Ambassadors surpassed the $1 million mark with the awarding of the group’s latest research grants.
Friday, March 15th, 2019
yin yang symbol The yin and yang of cell signaling
 

Changes in enzymes involved in lysophospholipid signaling can activate a pathway implicated in development of cancer, a recent study suggests.


Thursday, February 14th, 2019
conveyor belt illustration Signals from the “conveyor belt”
 

Carlos F. Lopez, PhD, and colleagues propose a new “conveyor belt” mechanism for how cellular signaling is amplified, or strengthened, as signals are handed off from one enzyme to the next.


Saturday, January 19th, 2019
virus illustration RNA processing and antiviral immunity
A recent study in Nature Communications defines the in vivo substrates of RIG-I like receptors (RLRs) during an oncogenic virus infection and reveals a relationship between cellular RNA processing and an innate antiviral immune response.
Friday, December 14th, 2018
Breast cancer-killing RIG Breast cancer-killing RIG
A recent study in the journal Cancer Research demonstrates that a RIG-I agonist has potent immunogenic and therapeutic effects in breast cancer.
Friday, December 14th, 2018
Lung cancer Combination therapy improves small-cell lung cancer survival
Patients who received atezolizumab in addition to standard chemotherapy lived two months longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Friday, October 26th, 2018
Charles Caskey Mary Kay Foundation grant to bolster immunotherapy research
Charles Caskey, Ph.D., has received a cancer research grant from The Mary Kay Foundation to study how focused ultrasound therapy could be an ideal helper for immunotherapy.
Monday, October 22nd, 2018
Predators donation 2018 Predators’ gift bolsters fight against pediatric cancer
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, Predators executives and executives from Tri Star Energy (Twice Daily) made their annual presentation recently of proceeds from the team’s 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Monday, October 22nd, 2018
colon cancer cells SMAD4 clue to colon cancer
A recent study has linked inflammation-driven carcinogenesis in the colon to loss of an important signaling protein called SMAD4.
Friday, July 6th, 2018
glutamine structure VUMC researchers find a way to ‘starve’ cancer
 

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital nutrient glutamine.


Thursday, January 18th, 2018
turmeric A spicy finding
Extracts of the plant turmeric — the spice that gives Indian curries a yellow color — have been used as an anti-inflammatory treatment in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. Claus Schneider, PhD, and colleagues have discovered that curcumin (the active chemical compound in turmeric) is a “pro-drug” that is converted into reactive metabolites with anti-inflammatory activities.
Thursday, January 18th, 2018
medical samples Liquid biopsies help reveal lung cancer mutations
 

Cancer investigators led by researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have co-developed a liquid biopsy blood-based assay used to identify specific gene mutations associated with the development or relapse of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)


Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
colon cancer cells Researchers find novel mechanism of resistance to anti-cancer drugs
The targeted anti-cancer therapies cetuximab and panitumumab are mainstays of treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, many patients have tumors with genetic mutations that make them resistant to these anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies, or the cancers develop resistance during treatment.
Friday, October 20th, 2017
antibodies monoclonal HDAC3 role in B-cell development
 

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are enzymes that modulate gene expression and have important roles in development and disease. HDAC inhibitors are active against lymphoma, and understanding the roles of specific HDACs is important for further therapeutic development. Scott Hiebert, Ph.


Monday, August 7th, 2017
Ariella Hanker Investigators match novel cancer mutations with potential therapies
Research led by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) investigators may have solved a mystery about why a targeted therapy stops working in a small group of breast cancer patients. They identified a novel gene mutation that develops in the tumors, and then found a different cancer drug that appears to treat the newly identified mutation. The […]
Monday, August 7th, 2017
Drivers of breast cancer metastasis Drivers of breast cancer metastasis
Overexpression of HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is found in about 25 percent of breast cancers and is associated with poor outcomes. HER2-amplified breast cancers use signaling through a complex of proteins called mTORC2 to drive tumor formation, tumor cell survival and resistance to HER2-targeted therapies. Rebecca Cook, Ph.
Thursday, July 27th, 2017
Robert Coffey Coffey lands major NCI award to support colorectal cancer research
Vanderbilt’s Robert Coffey Jr., M.D.
Friday, June 9th, 2017
Horn to lead lung cancer combination therapy trial Horn to lead lung cancer combination therapy trial
Leora Horn, M.D., M.
Sunday, April 2nd, 2017
Breast cancer program lands new research grants Breast cancer program lands new research grants
Several investigators in Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s (VICC) Breast Cancer Program have received grant awards to support translational research that may improve disease outcomes for patients. The grants totaling more than $3 million will fund mechanistic science and clinical trials designed to test novel therapy combinations and determine why some forms of breast cancer become resistant […]
Friday, March 24th, 2017
Study takes 3-D perspective on colorectal cancer Study takes 3-D perspective on colorectal cancer
Despite dramatic recent advances in treatment, colorectal cancer killed more than 49,000 Americans last year, according to the National Cancer Institute, making it the second most lethal malignancy after cancers of the lung and bronchus. Determined to reduce the death toll, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center recently put on their 3-D “glasses” and took […]
Friday, March 24th, 2017
Jonathan Irish Investigators seek new way to define cell identity
Jonathan Irish, Ph.D., and colleagues have developed a new way to describe and identify cells.
Monday, March 6th, 2017
McDonald lab Metastatic pancreatic cancer ‘reprograms’ for malignancy
Metastatic pancreatic cancer — cancer that has spread from the pancreas to other tissues and is responsible for most patient deaths — changes its metabolism and is “reprogrammed” for optimal malignancy, according to new findings reported Jan. 16 in Nature Genetics. It may be possible to reverse the malignant reprogramming to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer, […]
Thursday, January 19th, 2017
small intestine Midgut neuroendocrine tumor prognosis
Patients with small intestine neuroendocrine tumors often have mesenteric tumor deposits (MTDs) in the abdomen – discrete tumor nodules that are not connected to the primary tumor. The clinical significance of these tumor deposits has not been thoroughly investigated, and they are not included in the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system for […]
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
Blind Balko V Foundation grants bolster cancer initiatives
Two Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) investigators have earned grant awards from The V Foundation for Cancer Research, continuing the foundation’s support for innovative cancer research initiatives at VICC. Raymond Blind, Ph.D.
Thursday, November 17th, 2016
Study details rare heart risk of certain cancer therapies Study details rare heart risk of certain cancer therapies
Combination therapy using two approved immunotherapy drugs for cancer treatment may cause rare and sometimes fatal cardiac side effects linked to an unexpected immune response. In a study led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) investigators and published in the Nov. 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers describe two cases of […]
Monday, November 7th, 2016
Precision medicine already changing cancer treatment strategies Precision medicine already changing cancer treatment strategies
The ability to test patients’ cancers for individual differences, mainly at the genetic level, and to make treatment decisions based on those differences is the hallmark of precision medicine, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is among the leaders of this new approach to diagnosis and treatment. “Nationwide we’re seeing great promise with this approach […]
Thursday, May 26th, 2016
VICC investigators in spotlight at AACR conference VICC investigators in spotlight at AACR conference
A top Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) investigator recently met with Vice President Joe Biden regarding the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, a major national program to identify, fund and accelerate the most promising research leading to cancer cures. Carlos L. Arteaga, M.
Thursday, May 19th, 2016
Study explores how some breast cancers resist treatment Study explores how some breast cancers resist treatment
A targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive form of breast cancer, has shown potential promise in a recently published study. TNBC is the only type of breast cancer for which there are no currently approved targeted therapies. The new study led by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) investigators has identified gene alterations […]
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
stem cell transplant VICC treats first patient in Tennessee with novel cellular immunotherapy
For the first time, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) investigators have used a cancer patient’s own re-engineered immune cells to treat a form of blood cancer by stimulating the immune system. The new CAR-T investigational therapy (known as KTE-C19) is being studied in a clinical trial for patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). The trial, called […]
Monday, February 29th, 2016
Study seeks to ease ‘chemobrain’ for cancer patients Study seeks to ease ‘chemobrain’ for cancer patients
Many women who receive chemotherapy for breast cancer report problems with their thinking, memory and attention after treatment. And as the survival rates for breast cancer increase, so do these issues associated with chemotherapy. Paul Newhouse, M.
Monday, August 24th, 2015