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New Website Stimulates Cancer Research Synergies at MSU

Jeff Mackeigan

Michigan State University has unveiled a new website highlighting the vast amount of cancer research being conducted throughout the university.

The site, cancer.msu.edu, features the research of 95 faculty members spread across 20 departments and eight colleges.

“When we began compiling the list of faculty engaged in cancer research, it was amazing to see just how diverse and robust MSU’s cancer research program really is,” said Jeff MacKeigan, professor and assistant dean for research in the College of Human Medicine, who oversaw the project.

“The idea behind the site was two-fold,” MacKeigan said. “True to the university’s mission to advance knowledge, we wanted to reach current and future students and, equally important, we wanted the site to bring MSU cancer research faculty together and spark new collaborations.”

Within days of the site’s Feb. 7 launch, cancer researchers throughout MSU began contacting each other to share information and, in some cases, propose joint research projects. The site also is intended to recruit more top researchers to MSU. MacKeigan himself joined MSU in 2017 as part of the Global Impact Initiative.

In addition to highlighting faculty, it includes research and disease focus areas, upcoming seminars, sample cancer courses and a history of MSU’s cancer research, including the development of cisplatin more than 50 years ago as a cancer-fighting drug that has saved millions of lives. Future site updates will include information for cancer patients about clinical trials at MSU and the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium.

Over the past six months, MacKeigan led a team developing the website including research administrator Nicole Doppel, digital communications manager Amy Nienhouse and web developer Kris Southwick.

“For so many of us, the cancer research that we do is personal,” said MacKeigan, whose father, John MacKeigan, a surgeon and former chief medical officer for Spectrum Health, died of lung cancer in 2014.

While great strides have been made in cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society estimates that 606,520 people in the U.S. will die from it this year. Worldwide, the number of cancer cases is expected to increase 50% by 2040.

Still, MacKeigan remains optimistic. “We are fortunate to be part of this powerhouse university,” he said. “The MSU discovery of cisplatin as an anti-cancer drug was one of the biggest success stories in cancer research. It transformed the lives of so many cancer patients.

“If there is anyone who will do it again,” MacKeigan said, “Spartans will.”

For more information about cancer research at Michigan State University, please visit cancer.msu.edu.

Geri Kelley and Kim Ward via MSUToday

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