ADEA member Dr. Srilata Bagchi, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), is one of several UIC College of Dentistry faculty performing ground-breaking research on oral cancer. For 18 years, Dr. Bagchi has studied the human papilloma virus (HPV) and how it can cause cancer. She stated, "It's the major cause of human cervical cancers, and 20% to 30% of head and neck cancers - a percentage that's growing."
For the last ten years Dr. Bagchi and her team's research has focused on the link between tobacco smoking, DNA damage, and how they collaborate with HPV to create cancers. DNA damage and lack of proper DNA repair leads to mutations and is the underlying cause of many cancers. "I'm a basic science person, so I'm not limited to one sort of cancer. I can study a variety of different types of cancers that are caused by DNA damage, and would like to know why those cells don't repair," she said.
"We work not only with the model of HPV-associated cancer, but with the model of liver cancer and the model of breast cancer, so our work has implications beyond head and neck cancer," Dr. Bagchi said. "This research is worth funding because there is always a cure down the lane."