Heide Ford, PhD, University of Colorado Cancer Center’s associate director for basic research, has been awarded the David F. and Margaret Turley Grohne Chair in Basic/Translational Cancer Research.
Ford’s work focuses on the parallels between normal development and tumor progression, and how cancer cells utilize developmental programs to spread to areas of the body beyond the primary tumor. In addition, her work has recently tackled topics such as tumor heterogeneity and the tumor microenvironment, important issues when investigating therapeutic agents targeting tumor progression.
“This award is such an honor,” says Ford. “This chair will allow me and my laboratory to pursue high risk, but potentially high reward, studies to move towards a better understanding of how breast cancer spreads throughout the body, causing significant morbidity and mortality. With this knowledge, we hope to develop novel means to target tumor specific pathways in a way that induces less toxicity in normal cells of the body.”
Ford plans to continue very difficult studies attempting to drug transcription factors, proteins essential to copying DNA into mRNA, which is a necessary intermediate to the production of proteins that cancer cells use to drive growth, amongst other properties. Targeting transcription factors is a recognized critical goal that is largely still unexplored, due to the technical challenges involved. The idea is to generate critical preliminary data that is needed to obtain larger research grants.
“Heide is a creative and committed scientist, exploring what could truly be game-changing new inroads against cancer,” says Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of the CU Cancer Center. “We are lucky to have her as an integral member of our center and look forward to seeing the steps she is able to take due to this new award.”
Margaret and David Grohne, among the CU Cancer Center’s most generous donors, have donated more than $10 million to support cancer research. Their most recent gifts are in support of breast cancer, cancer stem cell and cancer vaccine research.
Mrs. Grohne is a breast cancer survivor.
The Grohnes also fund the David and Margaret Turley Grohne Chair in Cancer Prevention and Control Research and the David and Margaret Turley Grohne Chair in Clinical Cancer.