The word “cancer” refers to a diverse group of diseases that share the property of unregulated cell growth. Every year, millions of Americans are affected by various cancers. Thanks to many years of research, some cancers are now highly treatable, showing these diseases can be conquered. At the same time, other therapies lack efficacy and cause side effects, making this an area of high unmet medical need. New drugs and drug targets are needed, such as those that increase efficacy, improve targeting, decrease side effects, overcome drug resistance, and enable personalized medicine. In the past, small molecule cytotoxics have been a hallmark of cancer therapy. However, the future will also employ precision molecular medicine that is grounded in targeted agents and biologic drugs.
In the Wiemer lab, we are researching different ways in which the human immune system can be used in cancer therapy, such as manipulation of emerging immune checkpoints. Researchers in the lab come from diverse backgrounds, but share interests and expertise in molecular biology, immunology, drug delivery, and medicinal chemistry. As an academic research lab, our goals are two-fold: 1) to discover new bioactive molecules (chemicals AND biologics) which one day may become the next cancer therapy, and 2) to provide an outstanding training environment to students and position them to make the next big breakthrough in cancer therapy.