Biology of Cancer

Improving Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Biology of Cancer

Discovering the mechanisms by which cancer initiates, progresses, and resists treatment over time

Cancer is a complex group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Research into the biology of cancer involves studying a wide range of processes including cell signaling, metabolism, immune evasion, and interactions with the surrounding microenvironment. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial for developing effective treatments and strategies for treating cancer.

Our centres

Research centres that are associated with this area of cancer research include:

Director: Dr. Doug Mahoney

The Riddell Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy was established through a multi-million dollar gift from the Riddell family to the OWN.CANCER campaign—a partnership between the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the University of Calgary—to support new cancer immunotherapy research and medicine development at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), the Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre, and the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Director: Dr. Aaron Goodarzi

The Robson DNA Science Centre was made possible by a $10-million gift from Dave Robson through the Dave and Val Robson Fund at the Calgary Foundation. The Robson DNA Science Centre will advance the understanding of DNA stability and repair, translating this knowledge into innovative cancer prevention strategies.

Our programs

Programs that investigate the biology of cancer include:

Program Lead: Dr. May-Lynn Quan

With a vision to improve the experiences and outcomes for individuals with breast cancer, the overall goal of the Breast Cancer Research and Education Program is to provide a comprehensive clinical, research, and education environment that fosters efforts to discover, develop, evaluate, and implement optimal, patient-focused breast cancer care, using cutting edge analytic methods and technology.

Program Lead: Dr. John Kelly

The Calgary Brain Tumour Program is focused on is focused on understanding the molecular drivers and causes of brain tumour initiation, progression, and treatment resistance, identifying novel brain cancer treatment strategies for translation to clinical trials; and developing the next generation of scientists and clinical fellows focused on brain cancer.

Program lead: Dr. Greg Guilcher

The mission of the Childhood Cancer Research Program is to bring paediatric cancer care to the next level by engaging in research aimed at several main areas in the continuum of childhood cancer care: understanding the unique biology of childhood cancer, finding new therapies, decreasing toxicity of current therapies, and improving life with and after childhood cancer.

Program lead: Dr. Mike Monument

The Integrated Sarcoma Research Program (iSARP) is a multidisciplinary, team-based research program focused on cutting-edge research initiatives to improve treatment opportunities and outcomes for sarcoma patients. It seeks to harness advancements in new molecular technologies, immunotherapies, and precision medicine into novel sarcoma discoveries, genomics-informed treatments, and new clinical trials for patients.

More information coming soon

Improving Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment — Programs & Centres

Biology of Cancer


Precision Oncology

Coming soon

Cancer Immunotherapy