Three City of Hope faculty members recently took their scientific expertise on the road, demystifying the world of clinical trials for a group of women in professions outside of medical research.
Information scientist Joyce Niland, Ph.D., molecular biologist Susan Kane, Ph.D., and medical oncologist Lucille Leong, M.D., presented “An Evening with City of Hope: Translating Lab Discoveries into Medical Treatments” in Pasadena, Calif. on May 16 for Stanford Professional Women of Los Angeles. The group is a forum for female alumni and women affiliated with Stanford University. Niland and Kane graduated from Stanford’s undergraduate school, while Leong graduated from the university’s medical school.
The City of Hope panel discussed various angles of translational research, using a breast cancer clinical trial as their example.
The trio discussed how a translational study begins with a scientific team’s idea and progresses through various stages until it potentially results in a treatment. They covered, as Niland explained, “the lifecycle of research from bench to bedside, the principles and conduct of the trial, the laboratory correlates that will lead to new discoveries, and the statistical, informatics and funding infrastructure needed to carry it off.”
All three of the faculty members have been active in supporting other women, whether through performing research in women’s health or promoting the role of women in science.
Kane, professor of molecular medicine and associate director of Beckman Research Institute, was architect and founding director of City of Hope’s training program in breast cancer research. She co-chairs City of Hope’s Task Force on Women in Science, which is studying gender equity among scientists at the institution. She also helps organize the annual Girls’ Day in Science, where Pasadena-area middle school girls enjoy a day of hands-on science with Pasadena City College instructors—everything from molecular biology and chemistry to astronomy and forensic science—and she presents workshops to girls in fifth through eighth grades as part of the Sally Ride Festivals held at Caltech and across the country.
Leong, professor of medical oncology and associate director of clinical affairs in the Division of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, focuses significant clinical time on treating women with breast cancer, and has spoken at numerous conferences on women’s health. She received the 2004 Woman of the Year Award for California Assembly District 44, City of Hope’s home district.
Niland, the Edward and Estelle Alexander Chair in Information Sciences and associate director of City of Hope Cancer Center, is former president of Stanford Professional Women of Los Angeles. Just over two-thirds of her 150 faculty and staff who support biomedical research within Information Sciences are women. In 2004, Niland was the first woman to receive City of Hope’s Medical and Scientific Achievement Award.