Benbrook Lab



Our objective is to develop drugs that prevent and treat cancer without causing side effects.


We study cancer cells become addicted to proteins and processes that can sustain their excessive growth. In healthy cells these proteins and processes are only upregulated during times of stress.  They return to normal levels after the stress is cleared.  If these proteins are elevated for too long, they start a natural form of cell suicide to prevent cancer.  Cancer cells develop tricks to get around this impediment and avoid natural cell suicide. 


We are discovering and developing natural products and drugs that interfere with these proteins and processes that protect cancer cells.  These investigational drugs kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells because the cancer cells are addicted to the drug targets, while the healthy cells are not. 


Our lead compound called SHetA2 and also OK-1 and NSC 721689 is currently being studied in a first-in-human Phase 1 Trial of SHetA2 in Patients With Advanced or Recurrent Ovarian, Cervical, and Endometrial Cancer: NCT04928508


A comprehensive review of SHetA2 drug discovery and development is published at this link:

SHetA2 Attack on Mortalin and Colleagues in Cancer Therapy and Prevention




Our Team-Based Approach



We use a team-based approach to accomplish much more than we could do as individuals.

We share ideas, efforts, space, equipment and resources.




Doris Benbrook, PhD



PhD Graduate Students:

Amy Bosley Kennedy, BA

Zitha Isingizwe, BS

Justin Garland, BS

Laura Mortan, BS


Clinical Fellows:

Danielle M. Krause, MD

Brooke A. Meelheim, MD


Vishal Chandra, PhD

Research Assistant Professor


International Scholar:

Swati Choudhary, MS


Postdoctoral Fellow:

Debasish Kumar Dey, PhD


Rajani Rai, PhD

Research Assistant Professor


Bethany Hannafon, PhD

Assistant Professor


Graduate Student:

Cole Hladik, MS


Postdoctoral Fellow:

Samrita Dogra, PhD


Research Associate:

Sugantha Priya Elayapillai, PhD





    Principal Investigator


     Doris Mangiaracina Benbrook, PhD

      Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professor


Click the links below for more information:


Curriculum vitae

OK-1 (SHetA2) Drug Facebook Page