A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
Cancer and Aging Research Program Bookmark and Share

Cancer and Aging Research Program

The number of older patients with cancer and surviving cancer is rapidly growing because the U.S. population is aging with a projected doubling in the number of patients 65 and older by 2030. Although the majority of cancers occur in older adults, these patients have been under-represented in national cancer clinical trials, which set the standards for oncology care. Few studies have specifically focused on the unique issues which face older adults such as the impact of age related declines in physiology, polypharmacy or comorbid medical conditions on treatment tolerance.
 
Arti Hurria, M.D. leads City of Hope's Cancer and Aging Research Program, the mission of which is to join investigators from all cancer disciplines to study biology, treatment and survivorship issues that face older adults with cancer. The results of this research will be applicable to the majority of patients with cancer because approximately 60 percent of cancer diagnoses and 70 percent of cancer mortality occur in patients over the age of 65.
 
 

Science to Meet a Critical Need

City of Hope is home to one of the few specialized research programs designed to meet the unique needs of older adults with cancer. This is a crucial area of study that will only grow in the coming years.
  • Between 2010 and 2030, cancer incidence is expected to rise 67 percent in those age 65 or older, compared to 11 percent for those under age 65.
  • Approximately 60 percent of all cancers occur in people aged 65 years or older.
  • Older adults with cancer are underrepresented in the clinical trials that shape national standards for cancer care.
 

Older Adults are Unique

Not all 70-year-olds are alike. Chronological age does not tell the whole story. The team of Arti Hurria, M.D., has developed a comprehensive assessment to determine the functional age of older adults, therefore enabling a more tailored approach to cancer care.
  • Utilizing the information gathered during the assessment, a score can be determined to predict which older adults will be at increased risk for chemotherapy side effects. Knowing which patients may suffer an increased risk of side effects could influence treatment decisions made by doctors and patients.
  • Older adults typically have other medical conditions that need to be considered when choosing the type of therapy.
  • Older adults often take several prescribed medications. A careful medication review needs to be performed in order to understand which can interact with cancer treatment.
  • Older adults may have different preferences regarding treatments, taking into account the side effects of various treatment options and the impact of therapy on their ability to live independently.
Older Adults

Clinical Trials

City of Hope's aggressive pursuit to discover better ways to help patients now – not years from now – places us among the leaders worldwide in the administration of clinical trials. Find out more about City of Hope's Clinical Trials.
 
Cancer and Aging Research Program's Clinical Trials
 

About Dr. Arti Hurria

 
 
 
Arti Hurria, M.D.
Arti Hurria, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medical Oncology
Director, Cancer and Aging
Research Program

Dr. Arti Hurria is a geriatrician and oncologist. She completed a geriatric fellowship in the Harvard Geriatric Fellowship Program, followed by a hematology-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Hurria is the Director of the Cancer and Aging Research Program at City of Hope. The overall goal of Dr. Hurria’s research program is to improve the care of older adults with cancer. She is PI on a U13 grant in collaboration with the NIA and NCI to identify and develop research methodology that will lead to evidence-based recommendations to improve clinical care for older adults with cancer. She also serves as national PI on an R01 funded grant evaluating clinical and biological predictors of chemotherapy toxicity in older adults with breast cancer. These grants are executed in collaboration with members from the Cancer and Aging Research Group, which Dr. Hurria founded and leads. Additionally, Dr. Hurria is multi-PI on a R01 funded study evaluating the cognitive function of long-term survivors of breast cancer and PI on a U13 grant which will focus on incorporating aging research across specialties and providing a forum to support the expanded pool of physician-scientists focused in aging research. Dr. Hurria is Chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Senior Adult Oncology Panel, Past President for the International Society of Geriatric Oncology, co-Vice Chair of the Alliance Cancer in the Elderly Committee, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geriatric Oncology. She is a recipient of the Paul Beeson Career Development Award in Aging Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology-Association of Specialty Professors-Junior Development Award in Geriatric Oncology. In 2013, she received the ASCO B.J. Kennedy Award for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology. Her CV can be found here.
 

Research Focus

  • Research Focus
     
  • Role of Geriatric Assessment in the care of the older patient with cancer (understanding an individual’s physiologic age verses chronological age) 
     
  • Adjuvant treatment decisions in older patients with breast cancer
     
  • Cognitive effects of cancer therapy in older cancer patients
     
  • Pharmacokinetics of cancer therapy with aging
 

Science to Meet a Critical Need

City of Hope is home to one of the few specialized research programs designed to meet the unique needs of older adults with cancer. This is a crucial area of study that will only grow in the coming years.
  • Between 2010 and 2030, cancer incidence is expected to rise 67 percent in those age 65 or older, compared to 11 percent for those under age 65.
  • Approximately 60 percent of all cancers occur in people aged 65 years or older.
  • Older adults with cancer are underrepresented in the clinical trials that shape national standards for cancer care.

Team Members

Bihong (Beth) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Bihong (Beth) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: Associate Clinical Professor
Contact Info: bechen@coh.org
 
Yuan Yuan, M.D., Ph.D.

Yuan Yuan, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor
Contact Info: yuyuan@coh.org
 
Peggy S. Burhenn, M.S., C.N.S., A.O.C.N.S.

Peggy S. Burhenn, M.S., C.N.S., A.O.C.N.S.
Title: Professional Practice Leader
Contact Info: pburhenn@coh.org
 
Ellen Liu, R.N., M.S., FNP-C

Ellen Liu, M.S.
Title: Nurse Practitioner (R.N., M.S., FNP-C)
Contact Info: eliu@coh.org
 
Daisy Rivera, L.C.S.W.

Daisy Rivera, L.C.S.W.
Title: Social Worker III
Contact Info: drivera@coh.org
 
David D. Smith, Ph.D.

David D. Smith, Ph.D.
Title: Research Professor
Contact Info: dsmith02@coh.org
 
Vani Katheria, M.S.

Vani Katheria, M.S.
Title: Cancer and Aging Program Manager
Contact Info: vkatheria@coh.org
 
Chie Akiba

Chie Akiba
Title: Clinical Research Associate II
Contact Info: cakiba@coh.org
 
Jennifer Choi

Jennifer Choi
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: jechoi@coh.org
 
Anait Arsenyan

Anait Arsenyan
Title: Clinical Research Associate II
Contact Info: aarsenyan@coh.org
 
Abrahm Levi

Abrahm Levi
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: alevi@coh.org
 
Julie Filo

Julie Filo
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: jfilo@coh.org
 
Andrea Rubalcava

Andrea Rubalcava
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: anrubalcava@coh.org
 
Dawnyetta Reese

Dawnyetta Reese
Title: Senior Administrative Support
Contact Info: dreese@coh.org
Dale Mitani

Dale Mitani
Title: Application Developer
Contact Info: dmitani@coh.org
 
 

Older Adults are Unique

Not all 70-year-olds are alike. Chronological age does not tell the whole story. The team of Arti Hurria, M.D., has developed a comprehensive assessment to determine the functional age of older adults, therefore enabling a more tailored approach to cancer care.
  • Utilizing the information gathered during the assessment, a score can be determined to predict which older adults will be at increased risk for chemotherapy side effects. Knowing which patients may suffer an increased risk of side effects could influence treatment decisions made by doctors and patients.
  • Older adults typically have other medical conditions that need to be considered when choosing the type of therapy.
  • Older adults often take several prescribed medications. A careful medication review needs to be performed in order to understand which can interact with cancer treatment.
  • Older adults may have different preferences regarding treatments, taking into account the side effects of various treatment options and the impact of therapy on their ability to live independently.


Older Adults

Innovation and Research

The research of Arti Hurria, M.D., has led to the development of a chemotherapy toxicity calculator, a prechemotherapy assessment that captures information which can be used to predict which older adults are the most vulnerable to serious side effects from cancer treatment. Ultimately, the chemotherapy toxicity calculator will be used in clinical practice, where it will be a part of shared decision-making between the health care provider, patient and the patient’s family. It is also being developed into a mobile app for future use.

Additionally:
  • Two clinical trials of novel cancer treatments are being conducted in older adults.
  • Research studies to determine the effects of chemotherapy on memory.
  • Research to support caregivers: the impact of a loved one’s cancer care and ways to provide support.

Collaboration

Arti Hurria, M.D., founded and leads the Cancer and Aging Research Group, which joins investigators across the nation in collaborative research to design and implement clinical trials to improve the care of older adults with cancer. More information can be found at www.mycarg.org

How You Can Help

Donate today to provide hope for older adults with cancer through innovative research.

Research is the only way forward against cancer in older adults. And progress is only possible with the help of generous donors.

Your gift makes a difference. Join forces with Arti Hurria, M.D., and her team and help transform the future of health for older adults with cancer.

You can also create a personal fundraising page. Share your story and inspire friends, family and associates to support this lifesaving mission. Please visit https://ourhope.cityofhope.org/events/dr-hurria-fundraising-page/e43974.

To learn more, contact Janet Morgan, Senior Development Officer at jmorgan@coh.org.

City of Hope Philanthropy
1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010
800-667-5310
philanthropy@coh.org
 

Cancer and Aging Research Program

Cancer and Aging Research Program

The number of older patients with cancer and surviving cancer is rapidly growing because the U.S. population is aging with a projected doubling in the number of patients 65 and older by 2030. Although the majority of cancers occur in older adults, these patients have been under-represented in national cancer clinical trials, which set the standards for oncology care. Few studies have specifically focused on the unique issues which face older adults such as the impact of age related declines in physiology, polypharmacy or comorbid medical conditions on treatment tolerance.
 
Arti Hurria, M.D. leads City of Hope's Cancer and Aging Research Program, the mission of which is to join investigators from all cancer disciplines to study biology, treatment and survivorship issues that face older adults with cancer. The results of this research will be applicable to the majority of patients with cancer because approximately 60 percent of cancer diagnoses and 70 percent of cancer mortality occur in patients over the age of 65.
 
 

Science to Meet a Critical Need

City of Hope is home to one of the few specialized research programs designed to meet the unique needs of older adults with cancer. This is a crucial area of study that will only grow in the coming years.
  • Between 2010 and 2030, cancer incidence is expected to rise 67 percent in those age 65 or older, compared to 11 percent for those under age 65.
  • Approximately 60 percent of all cancers occur in people aged 65 years or older.
  • Older adults with cancer are underrepresented in the clinical trials that shape national standards for cancer care.
 

Older Adults are Unique

Not all 70-year-olds are alike. Chronological age does not tell the whole story. The team of Arti Hurria, M.D., has developed a comprehensive assessment to determine the functional age of older adults, therefore enabling a more tailored approach to cancer care.
  • Utilizing the information gathered during the assessment, a score can be determined to predict which older adults will be at increased risk for chemotherapy side effects. Knowing which patients may suffer an increased risk of side effects could influence treatment decisions made by doctors and patients.
  • Older adults typically have other medical conditions that need to be considered when choosing the type of therapy.
  • Older adults often take several prescribed medications. A careful medication review needs to be performed in order to understand which can interact with cancer treatment.
  • Older adults may have different preferences regarding treatments, taking into account the side effects of various treatment options and the impact of therapy on their ability to live independently.
Older Adults

Clinical Trials

City of Hope's aggressive pursuit to discover better ways to help patients now – not years from now – places us among the leaders worldwide in the administration of clinical trials. Find out more about City of Hope's Clinical Trials.
 
Cancer and Aging Research Program's Clinical Trials
 

About Dr. Arti Hurria

About Dr. Arti Hurria

 
 
 
Arti Hurria, M.D.
Arti Hurria, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medical Oncology
Director, Cancer and Aging
Research Program

Dr. Arti Hurria is a geriatrician and oncologist. She completed a geriatric fellowship in the Harvard Geriatric Fellowship Program, followed by a hematology-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Hurria is the Director of the Cancer and Aging Research Program at City of Hope. The overall goal of Dr. Hurria’s research program is to improve the care of older adults with cancer. She is PI on a U13 grant in collaboration with the NIA and NCI to identify and develop research methodology that will lead to evidence-based recommendations to improve clinical care for older adults with cancer. She also serves as national PI on an R01 funded grant evaluating clinical and biological predictors of chemotherapy toxicity in older adults with breast cancer. These grants are executed in collaboration with members from the Cancer and Aging Research Group, which Dr. Hurria founded and leads. Additionally, Dr. Hurria is multi-PI on a R01 funded study evaluating the cognitive function of long-term survivors of breast cancer and PI on a U13 grant which will focus on incorporating aging research across specialties and providing a forum to support the expanded pool of physician-scientists focused in aging research. Dr. Hurria is Chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Senior Adult Oncology Panel, Past President for the International Society of Geriatric Oncology, co-Vice Chair of the Alliance Cancer in the Elderly Committee, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geriatric Oncology. She is a recipient of the Paul Beeson Career Development Award in Aging Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology-Association of Specialty Professors-Junior Development Award in Geriatric Oncology. In 2013, she received the ASCO B.J. Kennedy Award for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology. Her CV can be found here.
 

Research Focus

Research Focus

  • Research Focus
     
  • Role of Geriatric Assessment in the care of the older patient with cancer (understanding an individual’s physiologic age verses chronological age) 
     
  • Adjuvant treatment decisions in older patients with breast cancer
     
  • Cognitive effects of cancer therapy in older cancer patients
     
  • Pharmacokinetics of cancer therapy with aging
 

Science to Meet a Critical Need

Science to Meet a Critical Need

City of Hope is home to one of the few specialized research programs designed to meet the unique needs of older adults with cancer. This is a crucial area of study that will only grow in the coming years.
  • Between 2010 and 2030, cancer incidence is expected to rise 67 percent in those age 65 or older, compared to 11 percent for those under age 65.
  • Approximately 60 percent of all cancers occur in people aged 65 years or older.
  • Older adults with cancer are underrepresented in the clinical trials that shape national standards for cancer care.

Team Members

Team Members

Bihong (Beth) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Bihong (Beth) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: Associate Clinical Professor
Contact Info: bechen@coh.org
 
Yuan Yuan, M.D., Ph.D.

Yuan Yuan, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor
Contact Info: yuyuan@coh.org
 
Peggy S. Burhenn, M.S., C.N.S., A.O.C.N.S.

Peggy S. Burhenn, M.S., C.N.S., A.O.C.N.S.
Title: Professional Practice Leader
Contact Info: pburhenn@coh.org
 
Ellen Liu, R.N., M.S., FNP-C

Ellen Liu, M.S.
Title: Nurse Practitioner (R.N., M.S., FNP-C)
Contact Info: eliu@coh.org
 
Daisy Rivera, L.C.S.W.

Daisy Rivera, L.C.S.W.
Title: Social Worker III
Contact Info: drivera@coh.org
 
David D. Smith, Ph.D.

David D. Smith, Ph.D.
Title: Research Professor
Contact Info: dsmith02@coh.org
 
Vani Katheria, M.S.

Vani Katheria, M.S.
Title: Cancer and Aging Program Manager
Contact Info: vkatheria@coh.org
 
Chie Akiba

Chie Akiba
Title: Clinical Research Associate II
Contact Info: cakiba@coh.org
 
Jennifer Choi

Jennifer Choi
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: jechoi@coh.org
 
Anait Arsenyan

Anait Arsenyan
Title: Clinical Research Associate II
Contact Info: aarsenyan@coh.org
 
Abrahm Levi

Abrahm Levi
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: alevi@coh.org
 
Julie Filo

Julie Filo
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: jfilo@coh.org
 
Andrea Rubalcava

Andrea Rubalcava
Title: Clinical Research Assistant I
Contact Info: anrubalcava@coh.org
 
Dawnyetta Reese

Dawnyetta Reese
Title: Senior Administrative Support
Contact Info: dreese@coh.org
Dale Mitani

Dale Mitani
Title: Application Developer
Contact Info: dmitani@coh.org
 
 

Older Adults are Unique

Older Adults are Unique

Not all 70-year-olds are alike. Chronological age does not tell the whole story. The team of Arti Hurria, M.D., has developed a comprehensive assessment to determine the functional age of older adults, therefore enabling a more tailored approach to cancer care.
  • Utilizing the information gathered during the assessment, a score can be determined to predict which older adults will be at increased risk for chemotherapy side effects. Knowing which patients may suffer an increased risk of side effects could influence treatment decisions made by doctors and patients.
  • Older adults typically have other medical conditions that need to be considered when choosing the type of therapy.
  • Older adults often take several prescribed medications. A careful medication review needs to be performed in order to understand which can interact with cancer treatment.
  • Older adults may have different preferences regarding treatments, taking into account the side effects of various treatment options and the impact of therapy on their ability to live independently.


Older Adults

Innovation and Research

Innovation and Research

The research of Arti Hurria, M.D., has led to the development of a chemotherapy toxicity calculator, a prechemotherapy assessment that captures information which can be used to predict which older adults are the most vulnerable to serious side effects from cancer treatment. Ultimately, the chemotherapy toxicity calculator will be used in clinical practice, where it will be a part of shared decision-making between the health care provider, patient and the patient’s family. It is also being developed into a mobile app for future use.

Additionally:
  • Two clinical trials of novel cancer treatments are being conducted in older adults.
  • Research studies to determine the effects of chemotherapy on memory.
  • Research to support caregivers: the impact of a loved one’s cancer care and ways to provide support.

Clinical Trials

Collaboration

Collaboration

Arti Hurria, M.D., founded and leads the Cancer and Aging Research Group, which joins investigators across the nation in collaborative research to design and implement clinical trials to improve the care of older adults with cancer. More information can be found at www.mycarg.org

How You Can Help

How You Can Help

Donate today to provide hope for older adults with cancer through innovative research.

Research is the only way forward against cancer in older adults. And progress is only possible with the help of generous donors.

Your gift makes a difference. Join forces with Arti Hurria, M.D., and her team and help transform the future of health for older adults with cancer.

You can also create a personal fundraising page. Share your story and inspire friends, family and associates to support this lifesaving mission. Please visit https://ourhope.cityofhope.org/events/dr-hurria-fundraising-page/e43974.

To learn more, contact Janet Morgan, Senior Development Officer at jmorgan@coh.org.

City of Hope Philanthropy
1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010
800-667-5310
philanthropy@coh.org
 


NEWS & UPDATES
  • Anyone who tours City of Hope will almost certainly be taken by two key buildings: Helford Clinical Research Hospital and Beckman Research Institute. The heart of the campus, in more ways than one, the two buildings are a stone’s throw from each other. The hospital is dedicated to treating cancer patients...
  • In June 2012, 28-year-old Emily Bennett Taylor was getting ready to celebrate her second wedding anniversary with her college sweetheart when she discovered that she had Stage 4 lung cancer. Taylor was a former college athlete, had led a healthy and active lifestyle and had never smoked. She quickly began treat...
  • “Skin cancer” was pretty much the last thing on the mind of a healthy, outdoorsy kid like Tanner Harbin. “I like hockey – playing it and watching it,” the 23-year-old from San Dimas said. “I like to go off-roading with my dad – we have a Jeep and we have a cabin up in Big Bear, so […]
  • Skin cancer is an enticing field to be in these days. Just ask Laleh Melstrom, M.D. M.S., one of City of Hope’s newest surgeons. “In the last few years, melanoma has been the type of cancer that has really shown the most progress in terms of treatments,” Melstrom said. “It’s the one cancer in 2015 that is...
  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States today, and its incidence is on the rise. Forty to 50 percent of light-skinned Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once in their lives. Most of these skin cancers – about 3.5 million cases – are the […]
  • The connection between lifestyle and cancer is real. Knowing that, what can individuals do to lower their risk? City of Hope physicians recently came together to answer that precise question, explaining the links between cancer and the choices we make that affect our health. Moderator Vijay Trisal M.D., medical...
  • White button mushrooms seem fairly innocuous as fungi go. Unlike portabellas, they don’t center stage at the dinner table, and unlike truffles, they’re not the subject of gourmand fervor. But appearances can be deceiving when it comes to these mild-mannered Clark Kents of the food world. In a study ...
  • Doctors often recommend preventive screenings for several cancers, based on hereditary or genetic factors, but brain tumors aren’t one of them. Primary brain tumors, which originate in the brain rather than spreading from another location, seem to develop at random, and doctors have little insight into wh...
  • Stopping cancer starts with research. To that end, STOP CANCER has awarded $525,000 in grants to City of Hope for 2015, supporting innovative research projects and recognizing the institution’s leadership in advancing cancer treatment and prevention. Founded in 1988, STOP CANCER underwrites the work of le...
  • Cancer may not be the disease many people think it is. Normally, cancer is considered to be a disease in which cells multiply at an extremely high, and unusual, rate – increasing the likelihood of genetic mutations. But increasingly, leading researchers at City of Hope and elsewhere are contending that cancer i...
  • “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in the health care system is the most shocking and inhumane.” By the time the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke those words in Chicago in 1966, the Civil Rights Act had been passed, the Voting Rights Act was the law of the land and the March on Washington was […]
  • Eight years ago, Matthew Loscalzo surprised himself by accepting the offer to become City of Hope’s administrative director of the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center and executive director of the Department of Supportive Care Medicine. At the time, he was administrative director of the Sc...
  • The mental fog that patients can experience after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer has a name: “chemo brain.” “Many patients report hearing or reading about chemotherapy-related cognitive deficits, but few are actually prepared to deal with these changes,” said Celina Lemon, M.A., an occupational th...
  • Cancer treatments have improved over the years, but one potential source of treatments and cures remains largely untapped: nature. Blueberries, cinnamon, xinfeng, grape seed (and skin) extract, mushrooms, barberry and pomegranates all contain compounds with the potential to treat or prevent cancer. Scientists a...
  • In the U.S., there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate and lung, according to the American Cancer Society. Each year, 5 million people are treated for skin cancer. Here, Hans Schoellhammer, M.D., assistant clinical professor at City of Hope | Ant...