Cancer is a terrible diagnosis with the potential for a bitter prognosis (chance of survival after five years). The only factor that determines if a cancer is Stage IV or not is if the cancer has metastasized. Metastasis is the process of cancerous cells breaking off from the primary site and traveling to other parts of the body to settle there and rapidly grow and divide. Stage IV cancer, metastatic cancer has the most dreadful prognosis out of all of the other stages. 

When cancer cells begin to metastasize, drug delivery in the body becomes an even more complicated problem. Medicines and chemotherapies which target cancerous cells to initiate cell death have a harder time being effective when the target is not localized. New medicines and techniques that slow down or prevent cancer metastasis are valuable and creating these sorts of compounds is where my research is focused.

My work in the Mooring Lab focuses on creating a novel class of small molecules for the protein receptor CXCR4, in hopes of synthesizing new compounds that may be brought to market to treat patients with metastatic cancer.

If you want to read about my project in detail, please check out a link to my work below:

Theresa Gaines, Davita Camp, Renren Bai, Zhongxing Liang, Yonghyoun Yoon, Hyunsuk Shim, Suazette Reid Mooring. Synthesis and evaluation of 2,5 and 2,6 pyridine-based CXCR4 inhibitors. Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry. 2016. doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2016.08

Renren Bai, Zhongxing Liang, Yonghyoun Yoon, Shuangping Liu, Theresa Gaines, Yoonheun Oum, Qi Shi, Suazette Reid Mooring, Hyunsuk Shim. Symmetrical bis-tertiary amines as novel CXCR4 inhibitors. European Journal of Medicinal Chemsitry. 2016. 118(8), pp. 340-350. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2016.04.040

Suazette Reid Mooring, Theresa Gaines, Zhongxing Liang, Hyunsuk Shim. Synthesis of pyridine derivatives as potential antagonists of chemokine receptor type 4. Heterocyclic Communications. 2014 20(3), pp. 149-153. doi:10.1515/hc-2014-004.