Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development

Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development

The Center For Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD) at Clark Atlanta University has been in existence since 1999. In 2004, CCRTD developed a cancer research and educational program focused entirely in the area of prostate cancer. This makes CCRTD one of the largest prostate cancer centers in the country in terms of basic research and the only one of its kind in the nation.

This focus, in large part was based-upon a higher incidence and mortality rate among African-American men. The main objectives of the center are to build a premier research program in prostate cancer, train the next generation of minority scientists in the area of prostate cancer, and develop a community-based educational and research program focusing on early detection and treatment of prostate cancer.


CCRTD Provides State-of-the-Art Facilities

The Research Infrastructure Core (RIC) within the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD), at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) provides state-of-the-art research support including instruments, technology, education, and training for all investigators and research staff engaged in health-related scientific research. 

Faculty, staff, and students have full access to instrumentation in the shared research support facilities. The majority of instrumentation is located in the core research support laboratories on the fourth floor of the Thomas W. Cole Research Center for Science & Technology. A web-based core facility management system, iLab Solutions, is applied for the service and management of CCRTD Research Infrastructure Core. These facilities are supported by the Research Center of Minority Institutions (RCMI) program of the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), and CAU. They are currently available to users free of charge. Moreover, additional instruments within CCRTD member laboratories are shared by all CCRTD members. 

CCRTD Research Core Facilities employ four staff members, a Senior Research Scientist, a Facilities Coordinator, a Histology/Animal Research Scientist, and a Research Technician. They provide faculty, staff, and students with training, assistance in application development, technology support of day-to-day equipment operation, equipment maintenance, updates, purchases, and acquiring basic supplies. Dr. Valerie Odero-Marah, Assistant Director for the Research Core of CCRTD oversees the operation of CCRTD Core Facilities and is in charge of equipment acquisition and application development. 

  • Cell and Molecular Biology Core Laboratories (CMBCL) Coordinator: Dr. Jaideep Chaudhary; Location: Cole Research Science Room 4025
  • Histology and Imaging Core Laboratories (HICL) Coordinator: Dr. Cimona V. Hinton; Location: Cole Research Science Room 4043
  • Cancer Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core Laboratories (CBBCL)Coordinator: Dr. Nathan Bowen; Location: Location: Cole Research Science Room 4029
  • Drug Discovery Core Laboratory (DDCL)Coordinator: Daqing Wu; Location: Cole Research Science Room 4023
  • Animal Core Laboratory (ACL)Coordinator: Dr. Zhengxin Wang; Location: Cole Research Science Room Penthouse
DOD Program
Cancer Registry


The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD) at Clark Atlanta University was awarded a $6.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) for a five-year period. This award is to establish a Center of Excellence for Prostate Cancer Research, Education, and Community Services.

This grant supports research, training, and community outreach activities as related to prostate cancer in the African-American community at Clark Atlanta University. These funds support three individual research projects and six pilot projects in the area of cell and molecular biology of prostate cancer. Funding is also available to support scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in the area of prostate cancer.

The new center also provides initial funding to develop a community education component in prostate cancer. This initiative establishes a community-based educational program for raising awareness on prevention, screening, early detection, and treatment of prostate cancer. These activities are carried out in collaboration with Clark Atlanta University Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work, Division of Communication Arts, and Midtown Urology Educational Foundation.

DOD Prostate Cancer Program

We have received funding from the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in Prostate Cancer for two projects. These PIs are Dr. Shafiq A. Khan and Dr. Valerie Odero-Marah. Dr. Khan’s project entitled “Intracrine Regulation of Androgen Receptor in Prostate Cancer Cells” investigates the role of testosterone produced in prostate cancer cells and its regulation by steroidogenesis-inducing protein (SIP) in the advanced stages of the disease.

These studies should lead to a better therapeutic approach in combination with androgen ablation therapy to get rid of both androgen dependent and independent prostate cancers. Dr. Odero-Marah’s project entitled “Snail-mediated Signaling in Human Prostate Cancer” focuses on molecular mechanisms involved in metastasis of prostate cancer. She is studying the role of Snail transcription factor in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and Neuroendocrine Differentiation (NED) in prostate cancers. These studies will lead to a better understanding of EMT and NED and possible therapeutic strategies to combat prostate cancer growth and its metastasis.

Cancer Registry

The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD) at Clark Atlanta University created a unique prostate cancer registry that will capture information from male patients/survivors epidemiological profile, clinical disease information and data regarding their experiences throughout their prostate cancer continuum.  CCRTD’s vision for this registry is to provide cancer patients/survivors a unified voice to advance the understanding and challenges that universally impact men, specifically African-American prostate cancer survivors.

The registry will provide individuals that are affected by prostate cancer more informed and active decision-making within the context of a supportive community that can possibly lead to improved quality of life and enhanced possibility of survivorship.  It is our hope that the findings from this registry will provide support and empower survivors as they transition from active treatment to post-treatment.

The Prostate Cancer Registry is accessible online at Upon registration and account set-up respondents will have access to the site where they can complete questions about their prostate cancer experience. In addition, subjects can create a personal account to add a profile to further discuss their cancer experience.

For additional information please contact CCRTD at 404-880-6878 or by email at

Georgia Research Alliance

Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), a private foundation created with funds provided by both private industry and the State of Georgia, was established in the early 1990s to increase the competitiveness of biomedical and technical research in the State of Georgia. GRA chose six academic institutions in Georgia to invest in their research development.

GRA promotes cooperative research and development in technology transfer projects with private industry and increases awareness of the exceptional technological capabilities in Georgia, especially in the environmental, information, telecommunications, and biomedical areas. It supports these activities by providing funds for the recruitment of eminent scholars and for building research infrastructure in these institutions. Clark Atlanta University is the only HBCU that is a part of this consortium. Other institutions include Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, University of Georgia, and the Medical College of Georgia. GRA support to Clark Atlanta University has been very important to the development of research infrastructure in natural sciences.

CCRTD has received significant support from the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) which helped to hire an Eminent Scholar in the area of Cancer Biology in 2004 to serve as Scientific Director of the CCRTD. GRA has also provided funds to acquire highly advanced scientific equipment for biomedical research over the past 5 years.

Why Study Here?

The mission of the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD), Clark Atlanta University’s Center of Excellence serving the African-American community, is to provide opportunities for high caliber basic and translational research; train scientists in cancer research; and provide an educational environment for community outreach, prevention, early detection, and treatment of prostate cancer which disproportionately affects African Americans.

The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD) will develop a scientific research center of national prominence with a clear focus on prostate cancer and its impact within the African-American community.  This comprehensive center will engage in world-class basic and translational research; provide training for future generations of cancer scientists; and conduct community-based educational and research activities.

Overall, these excellent ‘state of the art’ facilities both inside and outside Clark Atlanta University have contributed in the past to productive research that was published and will contribute to the success of CCRTD researchers in the future.