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Martin K. Safo, Ph.D.

Massey Cancer Center research program membership

Developmental Therapeutics

Massey Cancer Center leadership roles

Director, Structural Biology Shared Resource

Department affiliations

Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy


PhD, University of Notre Dame (1991)

Research description

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common and the third most lethal cancer worldwide. Currently, surgery is the most effective treatment with curative potential, but it is associated with a mediocre 5-year survival rate of 60%. Pyruvate kinase is responsible for the final rate-limiting step of glycolysis and ATP production required for supplying energy critical for cancer cell survival. Downregulation of the pyruvate kinase isoform PKLR is known to suppress cancer progression of HCC and thus represents a novel route to a highly targeted, anticancer, therapeutic drug. Our group is targeting the inhibition of PKLR as a means to control cell proliferation and tumor growth of liver cancer. Our long-term objective is to introduce a novel class of anticancer drugs with minimal side effects.

Disease focus of research


Research keywords

Animal models,Apoptosis,Drug discovery

Published research (during tenure as a Massey Cancer Center member)

Search In PubMed

Contact information


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