A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE

About Beckman Research Institute

Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, Beckman Research Institute was the first of five Beckman Institutes to be founded. The Beckman Institute at City of Hope is unique because it has held a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant for more than 30 years.
 
It encompasses over 60 years of expertise in basic science that includes research at City of Hope prior to the establishment of the Institute by Arnold and Mabel Beckman in 1983. Faculty and investigators here revolutionize the treatment of life-threatening diseases. They are focused on investigating the biology, biological chemistry, and pathology of cancer and diabetes, and they examine the emerging links between the two. Researchers are committed to identifying opportunities at the cellular and molecular level to predict, prevent, diagnose, treat and cure these and other serious diseases.
 
Fundamental advances in understanding of acute illnesses translate into an improved armamentarium for clinicians at City of Hope, which for 10 years has been ranked a U.S.News & World Report Best Cancer Hospital.

Beckman Research Institute investigators examine a wide range of research areas that includes diabetes progression and treatment, immunology and imaging, interfering RNAs and HIV treatment, total synthesis of complex and therapeutic natural products, mechanisms of drug action, neurogenesis, DNA repair and radiation, and the immunobiology of viral infection.
 
In addition, the City of Hope NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center is comprised of five research programs in the areas of basic, translational, and prevention research: Cancer Biology, Developmental Cancer Therapeutics, Cancer Immunotherapeutics, Hematologic Malignancies, and Cancer Control & Population Sciences. These programs conduct activities across the entire Duarte campus facilitating interactions among researchers and clinicians of all disciplines.
 
 
 

Scientific Leadership and Administration

Departments and Divisions

The Department of Cancer Biology offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in molecular biology, genetics, epigenetics and developmental biology.
 
Dedicated to discovering immune-based cancer therapies, the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology conducts research in a new and evolving field and is known particularly for its studies using genetically engineered T-cells.
 
This department focuses on understanding the genetic and molecular bases of diabetes, developing novel treatment approaches for diabetes and preventing associated diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
 
 
Immunology
With a dual focus on immunology and structural biology, the Department of Immunology explores cancer immunology and biochemistry, antigen processing and T cell development.
Maintaining a strong emphasis on the interface of chemistry and biology, the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology focuses on gene structure, modeling of antibodies, theoretical biology and more.
Established in 1996, the Department of Molecular Medicine seeks to understand basic mechanisms underlying cancer and other diseases for the purpose of developing novel molecular therapeutics.
The Department of Molecular Pharmacology aims to bridge the gap between the development of promising new drugs and their application in the clinic.
 
The Department of Neurosciences focuses on a range of research related to the brain and nervous system, including studies of molecular neurobiology/neurochemistry, neurophysiology, neuromorphology and molecular genetics.
 
Department researchers collaborate to better understand the causes of cancer, improve outcomes and develop ways to prevent cancer through discoveries made in population studies, survivorship, patterns of care and more.
 
  • Division of Cancer Etiology
    The goal of the Division of Cancer Etiology is to understand the causes of cancer. By understanding the causes of cancer, solutions can be developed to help prevent cancer, especially in people who are at highest risk.
     
  • Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics
    The Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics includes clinical services, research, and educational programs focusing on people who are at increased risk for developing cancer because of family history or personal risk factors.
     
  • Division of Outcomes Research
    The goal of the Division of Outcomes Research is to better understand the after-effects (physical, emotional, and social) of cancer and its treatment.
    • Center for Cancer Survivorship
      This is a clinical long-term follow-up program designed to create a bridge between cancer treatment and community medical care.
       
  • Division of Nursing Research and Education
    The Division of Nursing Research and Education is well recognized on a national level for its research and education focused on nursing care for patients with cancer, which has helped to increase the quality of care provided to cancer patients across the United States.
The Department of Radiation Biology studies the fundamental mechanisms of cancers and radiation resistance in cancer cells to find a solution to improve the efficacy of radiation therapy.

Research in the Department of Virology supports eight faculty members and laboratories with research including viral vector development, viral immunology, and vaccine development. The program includes early phase clinical trials in gene transfer and in vaccine evaluation.

  • Translational Vaccine Research
    The Division of Translational Vaccine Research (TVR) develops vaccines to combat hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, and infectious pathogens such as CMV and HIV.
     
 

Research Department Chairs

Research Division Directors

Milestones: 2001 - Present

2001
The Graduate School of Biological Sciences is accredited.

Fouad Kandeel, M.D., Ph.D., wins NIH approval for City of Hope as one of 10 national centers for isolating and distributing islet cells for transplantation into patients with Type 1 diabetes.


2005
The Division of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology is created.


2006
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his work explaining how methylation modifies and changes the function of DNA.


2007
Groundbreaking on the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology.


2008
John Rossi, Ph.D., and John Zaia, M.D., open the first-in-human clinical trial for HIV related malignancies using a lentiviral vector to deliver a triple small RNA based gene therapy.

Richard Jove, Ph.D., is named director of the Beckman Research Institute.

Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., receives California Institute of Technology Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases is created.
 

Milestones: 1984-2000

1984
The Beckman Research Institute is dedicated.

Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., and Shmuel Cabilly, Ph.D., demonstrate the feasibility and describe a method for making humanized monoclonal antibodies, technology later used in “smart” cancer drugs such as Herceptin, Rituxan and Avastin.


1988
Eugene Roberts, Ph.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his work on the existence and function of GABA and other neurotransmitters on the brain and nervous system.


1990
John Rossi, Ph.D., reports first use of RNA to block the progress of the virus that causes AIDS.


1994
The Graduate School of Biological Sciences is chartered.


1996
The Division of Molecular Medicine is created.

Gerd Pfeifer, Ph.D., definitively links smoking to lung cancer, identifying the genetic damage done by the active compounds in cigarettes.


1998
The Division of Molecular Biology is created.

Barry Forman, M.D., Ph.D., identifies the first new steroid-like hormone in 30 years, androstanol, a hormone that reverses or halts gene activity.


1999
The Division of Virology is created.

Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., is named Director of the Beckman Research Institute.


2000
The Center for Biomedicine & Genetics is established to ensure that City of Hope scientific discoveries are efficiently translated from the research lab to the clinical setting.

Milestones: 1952-1983

These milestones outline how Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope has grown to become one of the nation’s premier centers for innovative biomedical research, advancing the fundamental understanding of molecular genetics, cellular biology and more.
 
1952
The Research Institute is dedicated
 
1960s
The Division of Neurosciences is created.

The Division of Biology is created.


1972
The Division of Immunology is created.


1976
The Bone Marrow Transplantation Program is initiated, making City of Hope one of the first of six medical centers in the nation to perform this lifesaving procedure.

Ernest Beutler, M.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his research on the genetics of hematological diseases.


1978
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., and Keiichi Itakura, Ph.D., synthesize the human insulin gene resulting in the production of Humulin®, a pure source of human insulin available to people with diabetes.


1979
Keiichi Itakura, Ph.D., and Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., pioneer the recombinant DNA techniques used to synthesize human growth hormone, enabling thousands of undersized youngsters to reach near-normal height.


1981
The National Cancer Institute awards the first in a series of major grants to City of Hope’s Bone Marrow Transplantation Program.

Susumu Ohno, D.V.M., Ph.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his work on X chromosome inactivation and his theory of evolution by gene duplication.


1982
Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi, Ph.D., purifies the insulin receptor molecule.


1983
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation provides a $10 million grant to establish the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.

Rachmiel Levine, M.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his pioneering work on discovering how insulin controls blood sugar levels.
 
Research Departments/Divisions

City of Hope is a leader in translational research - integrating basic science, clinical research and patient care.
 

Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.
 

Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.
 

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences equips students with the skills and strategies to transform the future of modern medicine.
Learn more about City of Hope's institutional distinctions, breakthrough innovations and collaborations.
Support Our Research
By giving to City of Hope, you support breakthrough discoveries in laboratory research that translate into lifesaving treatments for patients with cancer and other serious diseases.
 
 
 
 
NEWS & UPDATES
  • 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 – reported in Cancer Research, a journal of the...
  • 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 substa...
  • Deodorant, plastic bottles, grilled foods, artificial sweeteners, soy products … Do any of these products really cause cancer? With so many cancer myths and urban legends out there, why not ask the experts? They can debunk cancer myths while sharing cancer facts that matter, such as risk factors, preventi...
  • 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, acco...
  • 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. There’s one German phrase he’s determined to perfect, however: danke schön. Winston thinks h...
  • Few decisions are more important than those involving health care, and few decisions can have such lasting impact, not only on oneself but on relatives and loved ones. Those choices, especially, should be made in advance – carefully, deliberately, free of pain and stress, and with much weighing of values and pr...
  • Using a card game to make decisions about health care, especially as those decisions relate to the end of life, would seem to be a poor idea. It isn’t. The GoWish Game makes those overwhelming, but all-important decisions not just easy, but natural. On each card of the 36-card deck is listed what seriously ill,...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 fo...
  • Paternal age and the health effects it has on potential offspring have been the focus of many studies, but few have examined the effect parental age has on the risk of adult-onset hormone-related cancers (breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer). A team of City of Hope researchers, lead by Yani Lu,...
  • Hormone therapy, which is prescribed to women for relief of menopausal symptoms such hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness, has recently seen a decline in popularity (and use) due to its link to an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer. But City of Hope researchers have found that menopausal h...
  • Myeloproliferative neoplasms can’t be narrowed down to a single cancer, but they can be described by a defining characteristic: too many blood cells. The diseases bring with them a host of frustrating, potentially life-altering symptoms, and management of the diseases and their symptoms is crucial. An upcoming ...
  • More than 18,000 researchers, clinicians, advocates and other professionals will convene at the 105th American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting taking place in San Diego from April 5 to 9. With more than 6,000 findings being presented over this five-day period, the amount of information can...
  • Cancer of the prostate is the No. 2 cancer killer of men, behind lung cancer, accounting for more than 29,000 deaths annually in this country. But because prostate cancer advances slowly, good prostate health and early detection can make all the difference. Many prostate cancer tumors don’t require immedi...
  • Despite advances made in detecting and treating nonsmall cell lung cancer, its prognosis remains grim. Even patients whose cancers are caught at their earliest stage have only a 50 percent chance of five-year survival. This poor prognosis is due in part to the cancer’s ability to resist treatment, renderi...