NCI-Designated Cancer Center

Some of our breakthrough contributions to cancer research, detection and treatment.
female scientist at work

Breakthroughs in cancer detection and treatment

Since our official Cancer Center designation by the National Cancer Institute in 1981, our scientists have made significant discoveries, some of which have led to clinical trials. Here we highlight breakthroughs that have reached patients and guided our understanding of how cancer can be detected and treated. 

  • Invented the technology used in the PSA test, the world’s only blood test for the detection of prostate cancer.
  • Discovered the technology that enabled the development of the drug Epogen®, which is approved by the FDA to treat anemia caused by chemotherapy.
  • Performed research that helped identify Targretin®, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
  • Created the technology for CEND-1, a compound that helps anti-cancer drugs penetrate tumors and tested in clinic trials for pancreatic cancer. 
  • Led research that guided the clinical trial design for the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839, currently being tested for several malignancies including breast cancer.
  • Substantiated the anti-tumor properties of Navitoclax, in clinical trials for myelofibrosis—a rare blood cancer.
  • Validated the biological action of Birinapant, tested in clinical trials for solid tumors.
  • Produced foundational research for NGR-hTNF, tested in clinical trials for solid tumors.
  • Pioneered research leading to a clinical trial testing the HDAC-PI3K inhibitor CUDC-907 in children with brain cancer.
  • Accomplished foundational research leading to Venclexta®, FDA-approved for the treatment of hematological cancers.
  • Discovered TX803 – a first-in-class therapeutic tested in clinical trials for colorectal cancer.