A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE

Al-Abdullah, Ismail, Ph.D.

Ismail Al-Abdullah, Ph.D. Research
Coating Human Islets with Macromolecular Heparin
This project is carried out in collaboration with University of Uppsala Sweden.  Achieving successful reversal of diabetes with minimum Heparin precoated islet mass would have a major impact in translating the result generated from this study to clinical practice to use islet isolated from a single donor to reverse a single type 1 diabetic recipient.
Growth Factors in Culture Media Supplement to Improve Islet Quality and Quantity
This proposal will test the hypothesis that culturing islets in serum free medium supplemented with growth factors such as gastrin, EGF and exendin can promote islet function, yields; promote proliferation of islet progenitor cells to ultimate transplantation of islets from a single donor.

The Role of alpha-glutathione S-transferase (α-GST) in Human Islets
The ultimate goal of this study is to develop a simple, fast and reliable biomarker to monitor islet function and survival. Based on our feasibility study that islets are indeed contain and secrete α-GST. This novel biomarker will be used to monitor islet function during the isolation and post culture. We intend to use this biomarker to monitor islet integrity and develop the best conditions for islet recovery and survival post transplant.
Collaboration with the University of Uppsala
Our main focus on this collaboration is to further improve our islet isolation procedure for enhancing and improving islet quality so that a single diabetic patient could be transplanted and reverse diabetes with islets isolated from a single donor.
Collaboration on Non-Human Primate Islet Transplantation Protocol
We have initiated this collaboration with Dr. Defu Zeng and University of Maryland for induction of tolerance in the recipients. Donor pancreas from non-human primate was shipped and the isolated islets when transplanted into diabetic mice, diabetes were reversed.  The outcome of this study results obtain from this study will have major impact for FDA approval for eventual application of novel strategies for tolerance induction to cure type 1 diabetic patients with islets isolated from cadaveric donors.
Development of Novel Peptide for Collagenase and Neutral Protease Activities
Collaboration with Dr. Markus Kalkum from the immunology department at City of Hope has been established and we have already developed a novel peptide for collagenase and neutral protease activities assessment to define a better enzymes for pancreas digestion to free the islets for ultimate goal to transplant islets into a single diabetic recipient isolated from a single cadaveric donor pancreas.

Lab Members

Ismail Al-Abdullah, Ph.D.
Research Professor
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 60109
Luis Valiente
Senior Research Associate
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 65639
Shiela Bilbao
Research Associate II
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 61410
Alina Oancea, M.D.
Research Associate II
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 63923
Brian McFadden
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 33101
Research Associate I
City of Hope combines compassionate care with the best and most innovative science. Our 100+ acre campus is designed to meet the full range of needs of our patients and families. This guide is designed to help you take advantage of all that is offered at City of Hope.
To make an appointment for yourself, a family member or a friend, please complete and submit our Become a Patient Request Form, or call City of Hope at
800-826-HOPE (4673).
Physician's Bulletin
City of Hope’s Physician’s Bulletin is a publication for healthcare professionals that provides news and information about current research activities and significant trends in cancer treatment options.
Contact Us
Phone: (800) 826-HOPE (4673)
Hours: M – F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST)
Calls received after 5 p.m. will be returned the next business day.
Patient Care
Whether you're becoming a patient or referring one, learn all of the ways City of Hope can help you begin your patient or caregiver journey.

  • 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...