When Ralph Richardson discovered that his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) reading was a 6, he told his primary care physician that he wanted to go to City of Hope. “I felt I was better off in a City of Hope environment, where it’s a cancer treatment specialty hospital. This is what they do,” Richardson said.
At City of Hope, Richardson met with Jonathan Yamzon, M.D., clinical professor in the Prostate Cancer Program. “After Ralph’s biopsy revealed prostate cancer, we discussed the parameters used to stratify his risk of disease progression, and he fell into the ‘low-risk’ category. With that, we discussed his options, including treatment with robotic-assisted surgery or radiation therapy, versus active surveillance. Since his cancer risk was low, I recommended active surveillance as the most appropriate treatment,” Yamzon said.
But Margarita Gutova, M.D., assistant research professor in the laboratory of Karen Aboody, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurosciences and the Division of Neurosurgery, in collaboration with Robert Wechsler-Reya, Ph.D., director of the tumor initiation and maintenance program at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, may have found a way to bypass this barrier using neural stem cells — self-renewing cells that can later differentiate into neurons and other nervous system cells.
“Neural stem cells offer a novel way to overcome this obstacle because they can cross the blood-brain barrier and selectively target tumor cells throughout the brain,” Gutova said.
In the video above, Gutova explained how this ability can be harnessed to help treat brain tumors. Used as a delivery vehicle, neural stem cells can be engineered to target and deliver anti-cancer agents specifically to brain tumor sites. This method results in concentrated therapy at the tumor sites, while minimizing harm to surrounding normal tissue.
Additionally, Gutova is investigating whether the neural stem cells can be delivered intranasally, or through the nostrils and nasal cavity. This novel delivery method, if proven effective, is much less invasive, and could reduce the number of complicated procedures — and their associated risks — that these young patients must often endure. » Continue Reading
During their 46-year marriage – an attraction begun as kindergarten sweethearts – entrepreneurs Emmet and Toni Stephenson have worked together to build diverse businesses ranging from portfolio management to Internet publishing. When Toni was diagnosed with T cell lymphoma last spring, the couple refocused their energies into restoring her health.
“Cancer became the center of our life,” Emmet said. “Our priorities really got changed and turned upside down almost instantly.”
“It did change us,” Toni said. “It was quite a summer.”
Toni is currently in remission following treatment at City of Hope, and the couple and their only child, Tessa Stephenson Brand, recently gave City of Hope $10 million to create the Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center. That center is the cornerstone of City of Hope’s new Hematologic Malignancies Institute.
What is HPV? How is it linked to cancer? How can I prevent it? Those are some of the questions many women have about human papillomavirus, or HPV. City of Hope physicians will provide the answers at our Feb. 20 “Ask the Experts” presentation.
The session, titled “HPV and Links to Cancer,” will feature three City of Hope experts.
Mark Wakabayashi, M.D., M.P.H., associate clinical professor and chief of gynecologic oncology, will focus on the virus’ connection to cervical cancer and on the HPV vaccine, which can help prevent the disease.
Ellie Maghami, M.D., associate clinical professor and chief of head and neck surgery, will discuss oropharyngeal cancer (throat cancer), the changing patient profile of the disease and HPV awareness.
And Lily Lai, M.D., associate clinical professor, will talk about HPV and its connection to anal cancer.
Here, our experts offer a preview of the session. » Continue Reading
Although prostate cancer is often highly treatable, the prognosis for men with metastatic disease remains grim. According to the American Cancer Society, men with distant prostate cancer metastases have a five-year survival rate of 28 percent, and almost 30,000 men die from the disease each year in the United States.
Researchers hope to turn that tide by using two novel agents developed at City of Hope that will attack cancerous cells with the patient’s own immune system. And thanks to a $1 million Movember-Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award, this immunotherapy project can continue its preclinical progress for the next two years, with in-human trials beginning in early 2016.
Prior research at City of Hope and other institutions found that numerous cancer cells — including those of prostate cancer — activate a protein called STAT3 to evade the immune system and to promote their own growth and spread. In one arm of the new project, Marcin Kortylewski, Ph.D., assistant professor at City of Hope’s Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology, will be designing a unique agent — a nucleotide-based drug that delivers a small, interfering RNA called CpG-STAT3 — to inhibit STAT3 activity, thus stripping the cancer’s ability to grow and dodge the immune system, while simultaneously bolstering the patient’s own anti-tumor immunity. » Continue Reading
City of Hope recently hosted two free Ask the Experts events, titled “Cancer and Cuisine,” focusing on the benefits of healthy eating, physical activity and weight management, as well as easy-to-make healthy recipes.
Here are some quick tips from both programs:
- Select a rainbow of fruits and vegetables for nutrient diversity.
- Do not focus on single nutrients, because the nutrients in food work together to create health and fight off disease.
- Dark, leafy green vegetables are the most nutrient-rich food on the planet.
- Exercise regularly, and try to exercise three to four hours a week.
- Watch your weight.
The first Ask the Experts event was held at the newly opened City of Hope | Antelope Valley practice. The video above features Vijay Trisal, M.D., medical director of community practices for the City of Hope Medical Foundation, and guest speaker, Katja Wargin, certified holistic health counselor.
Wargin prepared a healthy and easy-to-make green smoothie: » Continue Reading
Nearly 350 million people worldwide are coping with diabetes, and the disease is expected to be the seventh-leading cause of death by 2030. Aware of these grim statistics, researchers at City of Hope are committed to halting the global epidemic.
On the frontiers of epigenetic engineering
Art Riggs, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research, is focused on the possibilities within the field of epigenetics. A concept pioneered by Riggs, epigenetics refers to stable changes in gene expression, some of which can be passed on to future generations — but are not written into our genetic code.
Riggs is currently studying epigenetic engineering, the process of making epigenetic changes in stem or progenitor cells to impact how those cells differentiate, grow and mature. Riggs is collaborating with researchers throughout City of Hope’s Diabetes Research Center to find ways to use epigenetic engineering to increase the supply of beta cells for islet transplantation, and to improve regulatory T cells to reverse autoimmunity. » Continue Reading
The fifth in a series about how to give, and give back, during the holiday season …
Giving back doesn’t have to mean giving money. At City of Hope, a special program makes giving (and giving back) easier for young men and women attending college.
In collaboration with Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps colleges, City of Hope’s Volunteer Services Department created the Student Resource Advocate Program. Through that program, students help reduce stress and anxiety among both patients and caregivers.
As a volunteer, the students greet and interact with patients and caregivers in the outpatient clinics, inform them about community resources, help them become more acquainted with City of Hope and assist them with special projects as needed.
“It’s a really unique opportunity to actually talk to people who need help,” said Chase Pribble, a current volunteer and a junior at Claremont McKenna. “You get to see patients and really understand what it means to help someone who needs it.”
The fourth in a series about how to give, and give back, during the holiday season ...
Giving back during the holidays (or year-round) doesn’t have to come in the form of cash, toys or tangible gifts. In fact, it can be done at no cost: One way is by volunteering.
Local hospitals, animal shelters and other nonprofit organizations nationwide rely on volunteers to help run daily operations. At City of Hope, volunteers play a special role, bringing compassion, empathy and hope to patients and their families.
Gloria and Sal Gill know just how powerful this form of giving can be. The couple started volunteering at City of Hope after lymphoma claimed the life of their son in 1999. They wanted to give back to the institution that tried to save his life. They’ve now been working with City of Hope patients for almost 15 years.
Every Friday, the couple make their way to the cancer center where they help patients find their way around the hospital, file paperwork, answer phones and assist the staff in whatever they may need.
“Being amongst the patients is very inspiring,” Gloria said. “We get to learn new things every day and it feels good to help people.”