Diseases & Research
Investigating the link between oral cancer and marijuana use – Contrary to previous research findings, Marijuana use does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of developing oral cancer, according to a multi-institution study led by Dr. Stephen Schwartz and colleagues. Learn more »
Determining oral cancer risk factors – Drs. Stephen Schwartz, Chu Chen and Eduardo Mendez are working to gain a better understanding of how genetic, virologic and lifestyle characteristics work together to affect oral cancer risk and prognosis. They have found a connection between oral cancer risk and the presence of both human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) in the blood.
Our investigators are also studying how a patient's environment might affect their oral cancer risk.
Predicting aggressive cancer – Dr. Chu Chen and colleagues are pinpointing the genetic changes associated with oral cancer risk and progression. Identifying these genetic patterns could help predict the aggressiveness of a patient’s cancer and ultimately help doctors decide whether surgery, which can cause facial disfiguring and psychological stress, is appropriate. Learn more »
Preventing unnecessary surgery – Dr. Chen and colleagues have, for the first time, identified a four-gene set that signals when oral cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the neck. The discovery could lead to a test that helps doctors identify which patients require surgery to remove their lymph nodes. Learn more »
Restricting tumor growth – Drs. Chen and Eduardo Mendez have identified gene signatures in patient tumors that can better predict patient survival. Dr. Mendez is also researching innovative ways to block the same set of genes and limit cancer cell growth.
Advancing treatment – Dr. Renato Martins is testing new combinations of drug therapies to improve treatment of head and neck cancers.