The Hanahan group investigates tumor development and progression using genetically engineered mouse models of cancer that recapitulate important characteristics of human cancers, with strategic goals to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms underlying multi-step tumorigenesis and malignant progression, and to develop new therapeutic strategies based on knowledge of mechanism for translation to clinical trials aiming to improve the treatment of human cancers.

Currently the lab focuses on melanoma, glioblastoma, pancreatic cancer, and squamous carcinomas elicited by human papillomaviruses. Topics include mechanistic studies on acquired capabilities – hallmarks of cancer – including resistance to programmed cell death, tumor angiogenesis, and invasion and metastasis. A crosscutting theme is the role of the heterotypic tumor microenvironment and the accessory cells that collaborate with cancer cells to manifest malignant disease. In addition, the lab is studying mechanisms of adaptive resistance to therapies targeting these and other hallmark capabilities, which present fascinating perturbations into the regulatory systems, and offer potential avenues to circumvent such drug resistance with combinatorial therapies. 


Movie illustrating Hanahan lab’s research into mechanism-guided cancer therapies