Oral Cancer Research


Oral cancer, including cancer of the mouth and the back of the throat, is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. In the United States, approximately 50,000 new oral cancer cases are diagnosed each year.

First-line treatments for oral cancer typically include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the prognosis of oral cancer remains relatively poor, calling for a better understanding of how these treatments work and why some tumors are resistant, and accordingly, developing more effective treatment options and combinations to overcome drug resistance.

Greatwall in replication stress/DNA damage responses and oral cancer resistance

Aimin Peng, PhD, adjunct professor, received grant funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for the project "Greatwall in replication stress/DNA damage responses and oral cancer resistance." Gregory G. Oakley, PhD, associate professor, is the project's co-investigator.

Peng and Oakley will characterize a protein kinase named Greatwall as a potential drug target to improve the treatment outcome of cancer, including oral cancer. This project will characterize new mechanisms of how the oral cancer cell responds to radiation and therapeutic drugs, and thereby significantly impact our understanding of oral cancer progression and drug resistance.