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Surgical Oncology

Dr. McMullen is a surgeon-scientist with a major interest in research.  Dr. McMullen’s research focuses on developing diagnostic biomarkers and establishing therapeutic targets for metastatic papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Biomarkers for PTC are needed to aid clinicians in identifying patients at risk of metastatic disease. Blockade of ERK and STAT3 signal transduction pathways may be useful therapeutic targets for metastatic PTC and we have ongoing studies using large tissue microarrays (TMA) from benign thyroid tumors and variants of PTC with and without lymphatic metastases to identify possible drug targets. We also use cell lines and primary cell cultures to outline how genes controlling cell proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and angiogenesis are subverted in metastatic disease. Possible long-term innovations include development of ERK/STAT3 inhibitors for metastatic PTC and other cancers.  For more information, contact Dr. McMullen at todd.mcmullen@ualberta.ca.