When reporters have questions about cancer and cancer research, NIU professor of biological sciences Barrie Bode has answers. Will there be a cure for cancer in our lifetimes? Bode said while it’s a long road, there is good news for cancer patients.
Bode didn’t set out to become a cancer researcher. In fact, he kind of “wandered into it” while conducting research during graduate school. With a goal of expanding knowledge of the biochemistry and metabolism of a normal human liver, he was particularly interested in how the liver regulated the transport and metabolism of an amino acid known as glutamine. A year after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Florida, he came across two lines of cells from a cancerous liver. On a whim, he measured the rate of glutamine import into those cancer cells—and was stunned to find it was about 10 times higher than normal. That observation led to the identification of two specific amino acid transporters that are elevated in a wide spectrum of primary human cancers and aid tumor growth.
For the past two decades, Bode has been working to develop highly targeted therapies to slow the uptake of glutamine and other nutrients that feed cancer. He was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the director of liver biology in the Division of Surgical Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Most recently he spent a decade at St. Louis University as a professor and member of their Cancer Center and Liver Center before joining NIU. He has over 60 peer-reviewed research papers and has appeared on Chicago Fox 32’s “Good Day Chicago” to discuss cancer research and therapies. He also conducted interviews following President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address announcing aspirations to make America the country that finally “cures cancer.” Bode did subsequent interviews with CNN, the Wall Street Journal’s “Marketwatch” and Chicago’s WIND AM 560 radio.
Cancer research; cancer biology; physiology; nutrition; biological science (general); biomedical research
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