LATEST POSTS

City of Hope experience proves ‘enlightening’ for Caltech students

August 4, 2015 | by   
Cal Tech students

From left: Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope Vice Provost and Associate Director David Horne, students Galen Gao, May Hui and Lauren Li, City of Hope Provost and Chief Scientific Officer Steven T. Rosen, students Peter Noh and Cynthia Sung, and Deputy Director of Basic Research Linda Malkas.

Internship programs are a rite of summer for many high-achieving students. For five Caltech pre-med students, each hoping to make a mark in medicine, that rite led them to the City of Hope campus in Duarte, California, for an exceptional learning experience.

The collaboration between the two high-profile research institutions marked the renewal of a successful venture that was in place between 2007 and 2009. And while that program was a shadowing experience, known as a preceptorship – in which students discreetly trail doctors through rounds – this version of the program offered a broader agenda.

The idea behind the latest program – as envisioned by Steven T. Rosen, M.D., provost and chief scientific officer at City of Hope – involved not only shadowing but a strong educational component, with each participating department setting a curriculum that included lectures, visits with physicians and other medical personnel, as well as engagement with patients.

“We are delighted to renew this wonderful connection with Caltech,” Rosen said, adding: » Continue Reading

Urologic cancers and urinary stones (w/PODCAST)

August 3, 2015 | by   
urologic cancer

Donald Hannoun, an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology at City of Hope ǀ Antelope Valley, explains the changes in his field, and explains what urinary stones are and what patients need to know about them.

Urinary tract stones are hard masses, or calculi, that form in the urinary tract and may cause pain, bleeding or an infection, or even block of the flow of urine. Urinary tract stones begin to form in a kidney and may enlarge in a ureter or the bladder.

Depending on where a stone is located, it may be called a kidney stone, ureteral stone or bladder stone. But stones aren’t the only common urinary tract condition. Urologic cancers include cancers of the bladder, kidney, prostate and testicles, and are all relatively common.

The treatment of urologic cancers, including bladder cancer, is rapidly evolving.

In this podcast, urologic oncologic surgeon and kidney stone specialist Donald Hannoun, M.D., an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology at City of Hope | Antelope Valley, explains the changes in his field, what urinary stones are, and what  patients need to know about them.

 

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For other interviews with City of Hope experts,  go to our list of City of Hope podcasts.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

Blood donations needed in summer, too

August 1, 2015 | by   


Every summer, hospitals nationwide experience a shortage of blood donations. This summer is no exception.

Nearly 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. this year,  and many of those patients will need blood transfusions during their treatment. Patients at City of Hope alone rely on more than 37,000 units of blood and platelets each year for their treatment and survival.

blood donations

The summer and winter months are the most difficult time for blood donations, due to travel and changes in donor’s schedules.

“Due to the nature of our patients and treatments here at City of Hope, we require more transfusion support than your typical hospital,” said Kasie Uyeno, manager of blood donor recruitment at City of Hope’s Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center.

This summer, the Blood Donor Center especially needs O positive and O negative blood types, as well as platelets, which are always in demand because of their short shelf life.

Uyeno said the summer and winter months are the most difficult time for collections, due to donors’ travel and changes in their schedules. » Continue Reading

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: What you need to know (w/INFOGRAPHIC)

July 31, 2015 | by   

City of Hope lymphoma facts infographic

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Clinical trials need older adults, ASCO says. City of Hope’s Arti Hurria explains

July 30, 2015 | by   

Few clinical cancer trials include older adults – and yet, more than 60 percent of cancer cases in the United States occur in people age 65 and older. The result is a dearth of knowledge on how to treat the very population most likely to be diagnosed with cancer.

older adults in clinical trials

Older adults don’t respond to cancer treatment the same way that younger adults do. Further, their functional age, not just their chronological age, must be taken into account.

Now, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued landmark recommendations directed at ending this inequity. The organization is urging federal agencies and the cancer research community to include more older adults in clinical trials. The call to action was published July 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

City of Hope’s Arti Hurria, M.D., director of the Cancer and Aging Research Program at City of Hope, was a co-author of the ASCO position statement, “Improving the Evidence Base for Treating Older Adults with Cancer.”

“We need to see clinical trials enroll a patient population that mirrors the age distribution and health risk profile of patients with cancer,” Hurria said. “ASCO has laid out a multipronged approach to expand the participation of older adults in clinical trials, ensuring that we will develop the evidence base so that patients across all ages can receive high-quality, evidence-based cancer care.”

The statement highlights these core recommendations: » Continue Reading

Scientists at City of Hope and UCLA stop tumor growth with nanoparticles

July 29, 2015 | by   
Carlotta Glackin lab

Scientists in the lab of Carlotta Glackin, second from right, have taken the first step in developing a potential new therapy for some of the deadliest cancers. Even more remarkable, they’ve done so with a novel, nondrug delivery approach.

Scientists at City of Hope and UCLA have become the first to inhibit the expression of a protein, called TWIST that promotes tumor invasion and metastasis when activated by cancer cells. As such, they’ve taken the first step in developing a potential new therapy for some of the deadliest cancers, including ovarian cancer and melanoma.

Carlotta Glackin

Researcher Carlotta Glackin is known as the “mother of TWIST,” for her role in isolating the gene responsible for the protein’s production.

Perhaps even more remarkable, they’ve done so with a novel, nondrug delivery approach.

Using extremely small particles, called nanoparticles, of coated silica, the researchers successfully delivered a nucleic acid known as small interfering RNA (siRNA) into tumor cells of mice. The result was a dampening of TWIST’s action – and a dramatic reduction in tumor size.

“Not only did we reduce the size of the tumors,” said Carlotta Glackin, Ph.D., associate professor of neurosciences at City of Hope, “but we also inhibited angiogenesis, which is the formation of blood vessels inside the tumor … And we didn’t even use a drug. » Continue Reading

#LastChemo: Ovarian cancer survivor shares hope with ‘survivor bell’

July 28, 2015 | by   
Patient donates Survivor Bell

Maria Velazquez-McIntyre, a 51-year-old ovarian cancer patient from Antelope Valley, shares hope with other patients through her donation of Survivor Bells to the Antelope Valley clinic and the Duarte campus.

Upon completing her final round of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer earlier this month, Maria Velazquez-McIntyre, a 51-year-old Antelope Valley resident, celebrated the milestone by giving other patients a symbol of hope – a Survivor Bell.

The bell may look ordinary, but for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, ringing it is far from routine. The ringing of the bell signifies the end of active treatment and the beginning of a life free of cancer.

“The bell represents hope and a sense of accomplishment,” said Velazquez-McIntyre, who donated one bell to the Antelope Valley clinic and another to the main City of Hope campus in Duarte. “My goal is to give someone else going through chemotherapy that hope. If I can ring that bell, so can you.” » Continue Reading

The link between obesity and cancer risk (w/PODCAST)

July 27, 2015 | by   
obesity and cancer

Misagh Karimi specializes in hematology-oncology at City of Hope ǀ Corona.

Many Americans understand that obesity is tied to heart disease and diabetes but, according to a new survey, too few – only 7 percent – know that obesity increases the risk of cancer.

Specific biological characteristics can increase cancer risk in obese people, and multiple studies have shown correlations between obesity and cancer recurrence, such as with breast, colon, esophageal and other cancers.

Here, medical oncologist Misagh Karimi, M.D., discusses  the connection between obesity and cancer.

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For other interviews with City of Hope experts,  go to our list of City of Hope podcasts.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

Some breast cancer survivors face increased risk of weight gain

July 25, 2015 | by   
weight scale

A recent study suggest women who have survived breast cancer tend to gain more weight than women who are cancer-free.

As breast cancer survivors know, the disease’s impact lingers in ways both big and small long after treatment has ended. A new study suggests that weight gain – and a possible corresponding increase in heart disease and diabetes risk – may be part of that impact.

In the first study to evaluate weight change in women with a family history of breast cancer, those who had survived breast cancer were found to gain more weight than women who remained cancer-free. The research, comparing 303 breast cancer survivors with 307 cancer-free women matched by age and menopausal status, was published July 15 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

According to the study, from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath in Baltimore, breast cancer survivors gained significantly more weight than their cancer-free counterparts in the first five years after diagnosis – an average of about 4 pounds. Women who had been diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer gained an average of 7 pounds more than women who had never had cancer.

Further, women who had received chemotherapy were twice as likely, compared to cancer-free women, to have gained at least 11 pounds. The findings raise new questions about life after cancer and how to better prepare women for new challenges and risks.

Laura Kruper, M.D., director of the Rita Cooper Finkel and J. William Finkel Women’s Health Center at City of Hope and head of breast surgery service, put the findings in perspective in an interview with HealthDay» Continue Reading

Independent scientific research starts with funding – and mentors

July 24, 2015 | by   

K grantsBecoming what’s known as an independent scientific researcher is no small task, especially when working to translate research into meaningful health outcomes. Yet that independent status is vital, enabling researchers to lead studies and avenues of inquiry that they believe to be promising.

Clinicians, especially, can find themselves with little training in the intricacies of research studies and analyses.

“While training as a fellow, you are busy learning the clinical side,” said Joanne Mortimer, M.D., vice chair and professor of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope. “Having enough time to learn research so that you can be independent is not realistic.”

To bridge that gap, and help develop clinical scientists, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers mentored career-development awards, known as K awards, for young researchers and clinicians. These awards are intended to develop scientists who can be a connection between the lab bench and the patient bedside. That connection, and the people who create it, are at the heart of what’s known as translational medicine.

As a leader in translational medicine, City of Hope has been home to a significant amount of K12 funding – with the “12” referring to the method of distribution, that is, through the institution, rather than to individuals – for the past 20 years. » Continue Reading