What We Do

Four Americans are diagnosed every hour with oral cancer, and surgical removal of the tumor is still the most common treatment. The 5-year survival rate of 50% for oral cancer ranks among the worst of all cancers, and survivors suffer arguably the most significant disfigurement and loss of function of any post-treatment cancer patient group. Functional deficits impact speech, mastication and swallowing, and may create social and employment problems secondary to communication impairment and facial disfigurement. Large oral and facial defects are often restored with facial prostheses.

A major research focus in the Weintraub Center is to develop the next generation of biotechnology to address the unmet needs of these patients. Although the quest of growing all tissues of the entire face is decades away, efforts in the Weintraub Center have already led to the development of promising technologies to regenerate selected tissues.

  • Stem cell research - Center researchers have been able to transform adult stem cells into nerve cells and bone-forming cells.

  • Cancer research - Center investigators have identified potential immune mechanisms that may be used to prevent and treat cancers.

  • Bone regeneration - Center investigators have discovered a new protein (UCB) which can be used to produce bone in desirable locations. Potential applications include spinal fusion and jaw regeneration. 

  • Nanotechnology - New nanosurface technologies developed in the Weintraub Center have resulted in implants that integrate more rapidly with bone, greatly improve performance and utilization for applications throughout the body.This new surface has already been commercialized.