Skeletal Disease and Cancer Therapeutics

Bone cancers and other skeletal diseases can be extremely painful and cause loss of mobility, which significantly reduces quality of life. While some treatments do exist, more research is needed to find new prevention strategies and improved therapies for these diseases.

Scientists in the Skeletal Disease and Cancer Therapeutics Program study the full spectrum of bone biology, from the mechanisms that give rise to healthy bone tissue to those that cause disease, with the goal of developing new, more effective treatments. These conditions include neurofibromatosis type 1, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and developmental disorders in addition to bone cancers, such as Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma, and bone metastases.


Recent Publications

Diegel CR, Hann S, Ayturk UM, Hu JCW, Lim K, Droscha CJ, Madaj ZB, Foxa GE, Izaguirre I, VAI Vivarium and Transgenics Core, Paracha N, Pidhaynyy B, Dowd TL, Robling AG, Warman ML, Williams BO. 2020. An osteocalcin-deficient mouse strain without endocrine abnormalities. PLOS Genet.

Harlow ML*, Chassé MH*, Boguslawski EA, Sorensen KM, Gedminas MJ, Goosen JM, Rothbart SB, Taslim C, Lessnick SL, Peck A, Madaj AB, Bowman MJ, Grohar PJ. 2019. Trabectedin inhibits EWS-FLI1 and evicts SWI/SNF from chromatin in a schedule-dependent manner. Clin Cancer Res.
*Equal contributions

Vander Ark A, Li X. 2018. TGF-b receptors: in and beyond TGF- b signaling. Cell Signal 52:112–120. Lu D, Li J, Liu H, Foxa GE, Weaver K, Li J, Williams BO, Yang T. 2018. LRP1 suppresses bone resorption in mice by inhibiting the RANKL-stimulated NFκB and p38 pathways during osteoclastogenesisJ Bone Miner Res 33(10):1773–1784.

Bergsma A, Ganguly SS, Dick D, Williams BO, Miranti CK. 2018. Global deletion of tetraspanin CD82 attenuates bone growth and enhances bone marrow adipogenesisBone 113:105–113.


March 2, 2020
Mark your calendars for the 2020 Origins of Cancer symposium!

Origins of Cancer is a one-day symposium that brings together students, scientists and medical professionals to discuss the latest breakthroughs in cancer research. This year’s meeting will highlight the tumor macroenvironment, which comprises near and far cells, tissues and systems that interact with primary cancer cells to promote tumor survival. Invited speakers also will discuss novel and integrative treatment approaches that target this larger interactome to outsmart cancer cells.

Learn more at For questions or to be added to our email list, please contact Beth Resau at

Did you know?
Van Andel Institute Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. Learn more here.