Cancer Metabolism Research Program


Our mission is to discover how weight management, diabetes control, optimal nutrition, and physical activity prevent the development and progression of cancer.


The vision of the Cancer Metabolism Research Program is to live in a world where no one develops or dies from a cancer that is caused by obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, or physical inactivity.

Every 18 Seconds

Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with cancer in the United States and every 52 seconds someone succumbs to this devastating disease. Individuals living with cancer and those at risk for developing cancer deserve to know how purposeful changes to their lifestyle can alter their clinical course.

40% of all new cancers and cancer-related deaths can be attributable to obesity, diabetes, poor diet, and insufficient activity.

40 percent of people

Research Focus

One of the major focuses of our research has been to understand how we can prevent the spread of cancer to other organs. This is called cancer metastasis. Cancer metastasis is explained by the graphics in the article "Physical Activity Reduces the Risk of Recurrence and Mortality in Cancer Patients".

A single cancer cell or cluster of cancer cells sheds off the primary cancer, gets itself into the bloodstream, and then travels to distant parts of the body.

In this example, cancer in the colon has spread to the liver. The process of cancer metastasis causes approximately 90% of all cancer deaths.

These circulating tumor cells are rare and challenging to measure in the bloodstream. We use a microfluidic platform to capture these tumor cells within a patient’s blood sample.

Through our research, we have shown that aerobic exercise, like walking on the treadmill, reduces the number of circulating tumor cells in the body and potentially improves cancer prognosis by reducing the number of circulating tumor cells that can get to distant organs.

Research in Lab



  • EXACT This study is seeking men and women with a previous diagnosis of colorectal cancer. The purpose of the EXACT research study is to determine how physical activity can prevent colorectal cancer from coming back.
  • SMALL STEPS This study is seeking men and women with a previous diagnosis of cancer. The purpose of the Small Steps research study is to determine if a lifestyle program that includes exercise and diet will help survivors of cancer improve their overall health and reduce future chronic disease risk.

Justin C Brown, PhD
Director, Cancer Metabolism Program
Cancer Energetics
ph: (225) 763-2715
fax: (225) 763-3022