A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
Cancer Biology Bookmark and Share

Cancer Biology

City of Hope's Department of Cancer Biology offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in a number of scientific areas, including:
 
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Cancer Metabolism
  • Cancer Prevention and Diagnosis
  • Developmental Biology
  • Drug Resistance
  • Epigenetics
  • Hormonal Carcinogenesis
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Tumor Biology
 
The department focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms of genetics, gene expression and function, signaling pathways, mutagenesis, DNA repair and epigenetics as they relate to the development and progression of cancer. Researchers within the department collaborate with clinical and basic research programs within City of Hope and with other research centers nationally and internationally. The research team explores mechanisms of cancer development (known as carcinogenesis) and aim to develop powerful approaches to cancer prevention and to improve diagnostic tools for detecting cancer early, when it is most treatable.

Laboratory Research

Shiuan Chen, Ph.D. - Chair & Professor - Hormones and Cancer: Chemoprevention
Dr. Chen has studied the role of aromatase in breast cancer development for more than 20 years. Currently Dr. Chen's research explores the mechanisms of endocrine resistance in breast cancer cells and seeks to understand the structure-function relationship of the aromatase protein in order to develop chemoprevention strategies using phytochemicals with anti-aromatase activity. His laboratory also investigates the impact of environmental chemicals on human health by modulating aromatase activity and expression.
 
Susan Kane, Ph.D. - Associate Chair & Professor - Drug Resistance
Dr. Kane's lab studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of drug resistance to learn more about the mechanism of action of anticancer drugs, why treatments fail and which patients will best respond to specific therapies.
 
WenYong Chen, Ph.D. – Associate Professor - Epigenetics, Cancer and Aging
Dr. Chen's lab deciphers roles and functions of epigenetic regulators and determines their differential contribution to cancer and longevity, and through which, to develop approaches to improve cancer treatment, reduce cancer risk and promote healthy aging.
 
Gerald Holmquist, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus
 
Mei Kong, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor - Signal Transduction and Cancer Metabolism
Dr. Kong's research lab aims to delineate the strategies used by tumor cells to survive periods of metabolic stress and then to develop novel therapies targeting nutrient sensing pathways of neoplastic cells. Currently their research focuses on protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) complexes in regulation of cancer cell survival upon nutrients deprivation.
 
Timothy O'Connor, Ph.D. – Professor - DNA repair, mutagenesis and cancer
Dr. O'Connor's lab is interested in DNA repair mechanisms, the biological consequences of repair failure, exploiting DNA repair mechanisms for therapeutic benefit and how DNA repair mechanisms can be used to control the epigenome of cells.
 
Gerd Pfeifer, Ph.D. – Lester M. and Irene C. Finkelstein Endowed Chair in Biology & Professor - Epigenetics and Genetics of Cancer
Dr. Pfeifer's laboratory studies biological mechanisms involved in human cancer. Our goal is to determine the molecular mechanisms that are involved in formation of genetic changes (gene mutations) and epigenetic changes (DNA methylation and histone modifications) in the human genome.
 
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D. – Adjunct Professor (Chairperson-Diabetes and Director Emeritus, BRI) - DNA Methylation and Mammalian Gene Regulation
Dr. Riggs' lab research is broad-based and encompasses chromatin structure-function and gene regulation. Current studies include epigenetic changes in early mouse development, including demethylation mechanisms.
 
Dustin Schones, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor - Epigenomics of development and disease
Dr. Schones lab is interested in the role of chromatin in gene regulation, how other regulatory elements interact with chromatin and how disruptions in these systems lead to diseases like cancer and diabetes. The lab is furthermore interested in the application of genomics to personalized medicine.
 
Judith Singer-Sam, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus –Epigenetics and Developmental Biology
Monoallelic expression is a characteristic of genes that are implicated in certain inherited disorders of the CNS as well as some cancers. Using clonal CNS-derived neural stem cells as a model system, Dr. Sam's group is studying possible mechanisms for such expression.
 
S. Emily Wang, Ph.D. – Associate Professor - Growth Factors and Cancer
Dr. Wang's group focuses on the role of signaling by growth factor receptors and oncogenes in cancer progression as well as the development of molecular therapeutics based on mechanistic study.
 

Cancer Biology Faculty

Cancer Biology

Cancer Biology

City of Hope's Department of Cancer Biology offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in a number of scientific areas, including:
 
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Cancer Metabolism
  • Cancer Prevention and Diagnosis
  • Developmental Biology
  • Drug Resistance
  • Epigenetics
  • Hormonal Carcinogenesis
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Tumor Biology
 
The department focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms of genetics, gene expression and function, signaling pathways, mutagenesis, DNA repair and epigenetics as they relate to the development and progression of cancer. Researchers within the department collaborate with clinical and basic research programs within City of Hope and with other research centers nationally and internationally. The research team explores mechanisms of cancer development (known as carcinogenesis) and aim to develop powerful approaches to cancer prevention and to improve diagnostic tools for detecting cancer early, when it is most treatable.

Laboratory Research

Shiuan Chen, Ph.D. - Chair & Professor - Hormones and Cancer: Chemoprevention
Dr. Chen has studied the role of aromatase in breast cancer development for more than 20 years. Currently Dr. Chen's research explores the mechanisms of endocrine resistance in breast cancer cells and seeks to understand the structure-function relationship of the aromatase protein in order to develop chemoprevention strategies using phytochemicals with anti-aromatase activity. His laboratory also investigates the impact of environmental chemicals on human health by modulating aromatase activity and expression.
 
Susan Kane, Ph.D. - Associate Chair & Professor - Drug Resistance
Dr. Kane's lab studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of drug resistance to learn more about the mechanism of action of anticancer drugs, why treatments fail and which patients will best respond to specific therapies.
 
WenYong Chen, Ph.D. – Associate Professor - Epigenetics, Cancer and Aging
Dr. Chen's lab deciphers roles and functions of epigenetic regulators and determines their differential contribution to cancer and longevity, and through which, to develop approaches to improve cancer treatment, reduce cancer risk and promote healthy aging.
 
Gerald Holmquist, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus
 
Mei Kong, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor - Signal Transduction and Cancer Metabolism
Dr. Kong's research lab aims to delineate the strategies used by tumor cells to survive periods of metabolic stress and then to develop novel therapies targeting nutrient sensing pathways of neoplastic cells. Currently their research focuses on protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) complexes in regulation of cancer cell survival upon nutrients deprivation.
 
Timothy O'Connor, Ph.D. – Professor - DNA repair, mutagenesis and cancer
Dr. O'Connor's lab is interested in DNA repair mechanisms, the biological consequences of repair failure, exploiting DNA repair mechanisms for therapeutic benefit and how DNA repair mechanisms can be used to control the epigenome of cells.
 
Gerd Pfeifer, Ph.D. – Lester M. and Irene C. Finkelstein Endowed Chair in Biology & Professor - Epigenetics and Genetics of Cancer
Dr. Pfeifer's laboratory studies biological mechanisms involved in human cancer. Our goal is to determine the molecular mechanisms that are involved in formation of genetic changes (gene mutations) and epigenetic changes (DNA methylation and histone modifications) in the human genome.
 
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D. – Adjunct Professor (Chairperson-Diabetes and Director Emeritus, BRI) - DNA Methylation and Mammalian Gene Regulation
Dr. Riggs' lab research is broad-based and encompasses chromatin structure-function and gene regulation. Current studies include epigenetic changes in early mouse development, including demethylation mechanisms.
 
Dustin Schones, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor - Epigenomics of development and disease
Dr. Schones lab is interested in the role of chromatin in gene regulation, how other regulatory elements interact with chromatin and how disruptions in these systems lead to diseases like cancer and diabetes. The lab is furthermore interested in the application of genomics to personalized medicine.
 
Judith Singer-Sam, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus –Epigenetics and Developmental Biology
Monoallelic expression is a characteristic of genes that are implicated in certain inherited disorders of the CNS as well as some cancers. Using clonal CNS-derived neural stem cells as a model system, Dr. Sam's group is studying possible mechanisms for such expression.
 
S. Emily Wang, Ph.D. – Associate Professor - Growth Factors and Cancer
Dr. Wang's group focuses on the role of signaling by growth factor receptors and oncogenes in cancer progression as well as the development of molecular therapeutics based on mechanistic study.
 

Cancer Biology Faculty

Cancer Biology Faculty

Overview
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is responsible for fundamentally expanding the world’s understanding of how biology affects diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
 
 
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.
Develop new therapies, diagnostics and preventions in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
 
NEWS & UPDATES
  • Although a stem cell transplant can be a lifesaving procedure for people diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood disorder, the standard transplant may not be appropriate for all patients. This is because the conditioning regimen (the intensive chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments preceding the transplant) is...
  • Brain tumor removal would seem to be the obvious course of action in the wake of a brain tumor diagnosis, but that’s not always the case. Some tumors are too difficult for many surgeons to reach or too close to areas that control vital functions. Removing them just proves too risky. A new device at City [...
  • Hijacking the same sorts of viruses that cause HIV and using them to reprogram immune cells to fight cancer sounds like stuff of the future. Some scientists believe that the future is closer than we think – and are now studying the approach in clinical trials at City of Hope. Immunotherapy is a promising approa...
  • Nausea is the one of the most well-known, and dreaded, side effects of cancer treatment — and with good reason. Beyond the quality-of-life issues that it causes, severe nausea can prevent patients from receiving enough nutrients and calories at a time when they need every edge they can get. A few simple actions...
  • With Labor Day just around the corner, summer is on its way out. But just because summertime is ending doesn’t mean we can skip sunscreen. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is needed all year round. Exposure to UV radiation — whether from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used i...
  • Undergoing reconstructive surgery may seem like a forgone conclusion for survivors of breast cancer, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. A new study has found that most breast cancer survivors who undergo a mastectomy decide against surgical reconstruction of their breasts. The reasons for such a deci...
  • Nearly four decades ago, City of Hope began its bone marrow transplant program. Its first transplant reunion celebration was a single patient and his donor, also his brother. This year, City of Hope welcomed hundreds of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients to the annual bone marrow transplant/HCT reun...
  • The burgeoning type 2 diabetes epidemic casts a pall over the health of America’s public. New research now shows the looming threat is getting worse. Much worse. A diabetes trends study published earlier this month in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Contro...
  • An aspirin a day might help keep breast cancer away for some breast cancer survivors, a new study suggests. Obese women who have had breast cancer could cut their risk of a recurrence in half if they regularly take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, report researchers from the...
  • Christine Crews isn’t only a fitness enthusiast, she’s also a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Being active defines her life. So when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 30, she decided she absolutely couldn’t let the disease interfere with that lifestyle. And it didn’t. For t...
  • Cancer treatment and the cancer itself can cause changes in your sense of taste or smell. These side effects typically subside after treatment ends, but there are ways to help alleviate those bitter and metallic tastes in your mouth. Here are tips from the National Cancer Institute to help keeps tastes and food...
  • Immunotherapy — using one’s immune system to treat a disease — has been long lauded as the “magic bullet” of cancer treatments, one that can be more effective than the conventional therapies of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. One specific type of immunotherapy, called adoptive T cell thera...
  • Today, when cancer spreads from its original site to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis, patients face an uphill battle. Treatments are poorly effective, and cures are nearly impossible. Further, incidence rates for these types of cancers are increasing – particularly for cancers that have s...
  • Thanks to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), high school students across the state gained valuable hands-on experience with stem cell research this summer. City of Hope hosted eight of those students. As part of the CIRM Creativity Awards program, the young scholars worked full time as m...
  • Radiation therapy can help cure many children facing Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. When the radiation is delivered to a girl’s chest, however, it can lead to a marked increase in breast cancer risk later in life. A recent multi-institutional study that included City of Hope’s Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., t...