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School of Health Research

Christopher Farrell, Ph.D


Assistant Professor
School of Nursing
College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
clf@clemson.eduFaculty Profile


Dr. Christopher Farrell is an assistant professor in the Healthcare Genetics and Genomics (HCG) program at Clemson University. Prior to joining Clemson University, he started his career in the pharmaceutical industry where he worked for two different biotechnology companies over a seven year period. The companies were the Immune Response Corporation and Centocor, which is a sub-company of the Johnson and Johnson Company. In the pharmaceutical industry, he worked in the field of biological therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies and viral vaccine-based therapies. He then entered graduate school at the University of South Carolina in the School of Medicine where he earned his PhD in Biomedical Sciences. After receiving his PhD, he started teaching in healthcare programs in pharmacy, medical, and nursing. His area of research is focused on cancer genetics, cancer education in rural communities, pharmacogenomics education and the study of inherited disorders such as Aarskog- Scott and Fraser syndromes.

How their research is transforming health care

Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a serious complication in the treatment of cancer patients. MDR can become an obstacle to chemotherapy treatment in tumors of any stage but is more common in late stage and/or aggressive tumors. Patients whose tumor cells develop MDR have a poor prognosis compared to patients whose cells are responsive to chemotherapy. Because the chemotherapy agents are ineffective in killing all of the tumor cells including cells which have become metastatic, the overall survival rate for patients with MDR-positive tumors is markedly decreased. A patient’s tumor can develop MDR before or after the initiation of chemotherapy treatment. The cause of MDR after the initiation of chemotherapy is well understood, but it is not known how tumors develop MDR before chemotherapy treatment. The most common mechanism of MDR in cells is the activation of transporter proteins. Increased expression of the transporter proteins is associated with MDR in cells that have been subjected to chemotherapeutic drugs. However, researchers have not been able to identify how this mechanism is induced in the chemotherapy-naïve cancer cells. We are exploring the connection between chemotherapy resistance tumors in chemotherapy-naïve cancer patients who are taking non-chemotherapy agents. With our research, we are hoping to increase overall survival of cancer patients with identifying optimal treatment options through biomarker testing.

Health research keywords

Precision Medicine, Cancer Genetics, Pharmacogenetics/Pharmacogenomics, Targeted Therapy, Multidrug Resistance

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences | 116 Edwards Hall