Molecular Therapeutics Research Program

Molecular Therapeutics Research Program


The underlying mission of the Molecular Therapeutics (MT) Program is to translate laboratory findings to the clinic so as to improve the lives of patients with cancer by identifying new molecules, targets and strategies for treating cancer. This highly interactive program includes a cross section of laboratory-based scientists and physicians at Karmanos who meet regularly through programmatic activities, and serve as co-investigators on research grants and investigator-initiated clinical trials.

The MT Program’s overriding goal is to integrate basic and translational scientists working broadly in areas of drug development, new or established therapeutic targets or pathways, and cellular and genetic biomarkers of cancer, with physicians conducting interventional treatment trials at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.  

Scientific Themes

  1. Identify and validate novel therapeutics, targets and pathways for selective tumor targeting.  
  2. Identify cellular/molecular determinants and biomarkers of tumor response.  
  3. Validate clinical effectiveness of new agents in interventional treatment trials.

Program Activities

The MT Program leadership actively supports:

  • Basic-clinical collaborations and translational research through the monthly program meetings
  • Molecular Therapeutics Special Seminars
  • Focused retreats
  • Small working groups or topical conferences
  • An annual Molecular Therapeutics Program Retreat
  • Targeted internal grants with emphasis on collaboration and translational science

Program Leaders

  • Asfar S. Azmi, Ph.D.

    Molecular Therapeutics Program Leader
    Associate Professor, Oncology
    Director Pancreas Cancer Research Initiative
    Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
    Wayne State University School of Medicine

  • Jeffrey Zonder, M.D.

    Molecular Therapeutics Program Co-Leader
    Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
    Professor, Departments of Hematology & Oncology
    Wayne State University School of Medicine

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