Research


New study connects mutant enzyme to cancer’s ‘Warburg effect’

April 22, 2014 | by
New City of Hope study finds that a cancer-prone mutation of the enzyme RECQ4 accumulates in the mitochondria (the green & orange structure in above model) and can cause it to dysfunction, possibly explaining cancer's "Warburg effect."
Cancer cells may be known for their uncontrollable growth and spread, but they also differ from normal tissue in another manner: how they produce energy. New City of Hope study finds that a cancer-prone mutation of the gene RECQ4 causes its corresponding enzyme, RECQ4, to accumulate in the mitochondria (the green and orange structures in above illustration of a cell’s components.) This can cause mitochondrial dysfunction, possibly explaining cancer’s “Warburg effect.” In healthy cells, energy is derived primarily from aerobic respiration, an oxygen-requiring process that extracts the maximum possible energy from glucose, or blood sugar. The amount…

Researcher lands $4.2 million NCI grant for clinical trials consortium

April 21, 2014 | by
Researcher Edward Newman
Clinical trials are expensive and complex, but they’re essential for bringing new therapies to patients. Edward Newman, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular pharmacology, just boosted City of Hope’s ability to conduct those studies with a five-year, $4.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). City of Hope’s Edward Newman was awarded a $4.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help support early therapeutics clinical trials. The grant is the largest awarded to a City of Hope investigator by the National Institutes of Health this fiscal year. The funds support the collaboration of three…

Meet our doctors: Yuman Fong on the future of cancer surgery

April 19, 2014 | by
COH
Meet City of Hope’s new chair of the Department of Surgery – esteemed pancreatic and hepatobiliary surgeon, researcher and author Yuman Fong, M.D. As one of today’s most respected and recognizable physicians in the treatment of cancers of the liver, bile duct, gallbladder and pancreas, Fong has pioneered and enhanced many surgical therapies now widely used around the world to treat these difficult diseases. He also coordinates and participates in many studies aimed at better understanding them and at their prevention and treatment. Yuman Fong, the new chair of City of Hope’s Department of Surgery, says research plays…

Fighting neuroblastomas by blocking their DNA replication, repair

April 17, 2014 | by
PCNA, shown above, is a protein essential to DNA repair and replication, and City of Hope researchers are targeting this protein in neuroblastoma cells to halt its growth and induce its death. (Image credit: Wikimedia commons / Opabinia regalis )
Neuroblastoma is one of the deadliest childhood cancers, accounting for 15 percent of pediatric cancer deaths. For patients with high-risk neuroblastomas, the five-year survival rate is 40 to 50 percent even with the most rigorous treatments available today. PCNA, shown above, is a protein essential to DNA repair and replication, and City of Hope researchers are targeting it in neuroblastoma cells in order to halt tumor growth and induce cell death. (Image credit: Wikimedia commons / Opabinia regalis ) But those odds may improve soon, thanks to a new compound developed by City of Hope scientists.…

Blood test could help identify breast cancer recurrences sooner

April 15, 2014 | by
Breast tumor
For breast cancer survivors, a common worry is a recurrence of their cancer. Currently, these patients are screened with regular mammograms, but there’s no way to tell who is more likely to have a recurrence and who is fully cleared of her cancer. A new blood test could detect a cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors significantly sooner than traditional screening alone. A new blood test – reported in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research – could potentially provide doctors and patients with the information they need to determine whose cancer…

New study identifies microRNA’s role in breast cancer metastasis

April 14, 2014 | by
City of Hope researchers found that a microRNA called miR-105 helps cancer metastasize by breaking down the building blocks of blood vessels' barriers, allowing the cancer cells to enter the bloodstream.
City of Hope researchers found that a microRNA called miR-105 helps cancer metastasize by breaking down the building blocks of blood vessels’ barriers, allowing the cancer cells to enter the bloodstream. Artwork by Bob Fong Metastasis — the spreading of cancer cells from a primary tumor site to other parts of the body — generally leads to poorer outcomes for patients, so oncologists and researchers are constantly seeking new ways to detect and thwart this malicious process. Now City of Hope researchers may have identified a substance that contributes to it: microRNAs, particularly one called…

Cancers by ethnic group: Numbers tell just part of the story

April 13, 2014 | by
COH
Cancer risk varies by ethnicity, as does the risk of cancer-related death. But the size of those differences can be surprising, highlighting the health disparities that exist among various ethnic groups in the United States. Both cancer incidence and death rates for men are highest among African-Americans, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among women, incidence rates are highest among whites, but death rates are highest among African-Americans. “The causes of cancer health disparities are complex, with root causes stemming from genetic susceptibility, stress and immune function, and family history, as well as health care…

Musician George Winston has new goal: Say ‘thank you’ in German

April 11, 2014 | by
Musician George Winston
George Winston, known worldwide for his impressionistic, genre-defying music, considers music to be his first language, and admits he often stumbles over words – especially when he attempts languages other than English. George Winston, shown here with Los Angeles Dodger Tim Leary at the 2013 Celebration of Life bone marrow transplant reunion, will meet his donor at this year’s event on May 9. There’s one German phrase he’s determined to perfect, however: danke schön. Winston thinks he’ll have it mastered by his first face-to-face meeting with the 20-year-old German woman who donated the bone marrow…

College student with lymphoma advises: Don’t let cancer define you

April 9, 2014 | by
Anna Kendrick with cancer patient at City of Hope
Young adults and adolescents with cancer face unique challenges both during their treatment and afterward. Not only are therapies for children and older adults not always appropriate for them, they also must come to terms with the disease and treatment’s impact on their relationships, finances, school or career, and fertility. All of these challenges point to the need for more research to improve care and follow-up for this age group. Here, one of those patients –  20-year-old Monica Curiel – shares her experience with lymphoma and also her advice for others in her position. ** By Monica Curiel Lymphoma…

Mammograms: Screening should be based on individual risk, study says

April 8, 2014 | by
Review of eight studies on mammograms concludes breast cancer screening should be based on a woman's individual risk.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer, other than skin cancer, among women in the United States. It’s also the second-leading cause of cancer death, behind lung cancer. In the past several years, various task force recommendations and studies have questioned the benefits of broad screening guidelines for mammograms, disagreeing over how often to screen, when women should start screening and when they should stop. Review of eight studies on mammograms concludes breast cancer screening should be based on a woman’s individual risk. The waters become especially muddy when experts discuss the potential harm caused by “overdiagnosing”…