The focus of our work is to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors by providing clinical exercise-based rehabilitation programs, by educating those individuals who provide exercise-based rehabilitation services, and by conducting basic and applied research that advances our understanding of cancer rehabilitation.
Patients enrolled in our program serve as subjects in a wide array of research studies conducted by students in our undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of Northern Colorado. Clinical research conducted at UNCCRI utilizes a multidisciplinary approach which focuses primarily on:
The physiological adaptations that occur in cancer survivors during exercise training.
Identifying the exercise intensity, duration, and modality that provides the greatest benefit for cancer survivor.
Optimizing current techniques involved with exercise assessment and prescription in cancer survivor.
Understanding the effects of exercise on biomarkers of prognosis and survival in cancer survivor.
Basic Science Research
In order to further understand mechanisms that may explain the beneficial effects of exercise in cancer survivors, we utilize tumor-bearing rodent models to study the effects of exercise on various physiological systems, with a particular focus on cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle function. We evaluate in vivo cardiac function in rodent models using a General Electric Vivid 7 ultrasound with intraoperative probes capable of evaluating cardiac function in both rats and mice.
Ex vivo cardiac function is evaluated using an isolated perfused rodent heart apparatus that allows for the quantification of cardiac pressures, volumes, and flow under controlled conditions. We also utilize cell culture techniques to maintain multiple tumor cell lines (metastatic and nonmetastatic) that are used in rat and mouse tumor-bearing models.
Our facilities are equipped with modern wet laboratory equipment necessary to conduct an array of biological experiments including protein analyses and spectrophotometry. Our research focuses primarily on:
Understanding mechanisms by which exercise attenuates chemotherapy-induced toxicities associated with standard cancer treatments such as anthracyclines.
The deleterious effects of cancer on cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle function and how exercise can mitigate cancer- and cachexia-induced muscle dysfunction.
The interaction of cancer, chemotherapy, and exercise on clinical biomarkers of cancer prognosis and survival.