Research

Research

North Campus street view
North Campus

The Castrillon Research Laboratory is located on the North Campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. We are part of the Department of Pathology and are affiliated with UT Southwestern's Simmons Comprehensive Cancer CenterGreen Center for Reproductive Biology SciencesCancer Biology Graduate Program, and Medical Scientist Training Program. We have access to outstanding, state-of-the-art resources for basic and translational research at UT Southwestern.

Our research and clinical interests focus on women’s health. Our basic research is aimed at understanding the molecular basis of cancers in the female reproductive tract (endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancer) with an emphasis on endometrial cancer, the most common of these malignancies. We are also working on novel approaches towards the diagnosis, early detection, and prevention of endometrial cancer.

We employ diverse research methods to understand the complex molecular interactions that control cellular growth and proliferation, and how these biological controls are coordinated at multiple levels: subcellular, cellular, and organismal. We seek to understand how these normal processes—when gone awry—result in cancer.

Our work and laboratory are generously supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute and the State of Texas/Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

Endometrial (uterine) cancer

Da Vinci anatomical drawing of fetus in womb

Anatomical drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
Used by permission of The Royal Collection

Several types of cancer are unique to women. Among these is cancer of the endometrium (a.k.a. endometrial cancer, or uterine cancer). The endometrium—the inner lining of the uterus (womb)—normally serves important functions during pregnancy, but can give rise to endometrial cancer and to endometrial “precancers” called endometrial hyperplasias. The reasons are not entirely understood, but are related to hormone exposure and other factors.

Endometrial cancer is one of the most common and clinically relevant malignancies in women. It represents 7 percent of all cancer and is the most common cancer of the female reproductive tract, with 55,000 new cases and 10,000 cancer-related deaths in 2015 in the United States. There is a significant need for improved prevention, early detection, and management/treatment of endometrial cancers and precancers.

Endometrial cancer research has lagged behind other cancers in terms of public awareness and perception of its significance, research funding, and progress relative to its true incidence and clinical impact. For several years, the laboratory has been working on endometrial cancer, giving us clear perspectives on research opportunities and new, but potentially high-impact, research directions.