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.
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.
Division of Molecular Diabetes Research
The Division of Molecular Diabetes Research is at the forefront of research on the complications of diabetes and was the first to study epigenetic changes in diabetic complications.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
John Rossi, Ph.D., reports first use of RNA to block the progress of the virus that causes AIDS.
The Graduate School of Biological Sciences is chartered.
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.
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.
The Division of Virology is created.
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., is named Director of the Beckman Research Institute.
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.
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.
The Research Institute is dedicated
The Division of Neurosciences is created.
The Division of Biology is created.
The Division of Immunology is created.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi, Ph.D., purifies the insulin receptor molecule.
Eleven years ago, lymphoma patient Christine Pechera began the long road toward a cancer-free life. She had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and told by doctors elsewhere that her lifespan likely would be measured in months, not years. Refusing to give up, she came to City of Hope for a second opinion. ...
Brain surgery is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, as well as curiosity and compassion. The truly great surgeons also have a desire to find new, and better ways, of healing the brain. Enter Behnam Badie, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at City of Hope. Now a pioneer in brain tumor treatment, Badie enter...
Elizabeth Budde, M.D., Ph.D., wants to encourage infighting. She aims to turn the immune system on itself — to the benefit of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML. AML arises when abnormal white blood cells grow out of control, amassing in the bone marrow and interfering with normal blood cell developme...
Six, to date; more soon. Outpatient bone marrow transplants, that is. Finding new ways to deliver quality care with the greatest benefit is a priority for a patient-centered institution like City of Hope. For example, not every bone marrow transplant patient needs to check into the hospital for treatment. In fa...
The best measure of success in the fight against cancer is in lives saved and families intact, in extra days made special simply because they exist. Yuman Fong, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at City of Hope, understands what precedes that special awareness. When cancer strikes, one minute a person ma...
In cancer, expertise matters. So do survival rates, patient safety, patient services and many other factors. City of Hope understands this, as does U.S.News & World Report. The magazine’s 2014-2015 list of best hospitals for cancer once again includes City of Hope, ranking the institution 12 out of 900 elig...
At 29, Kommah McDowell was a successful young professional engaged to be married to her best friend. She worked in the financial services sector and kick-boxed to keep in shape and to relax. Then came the diagnosis of triple-negative inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and very aggressive form of breast cancer. ...
The well-known drug tamoxifen might not always be the best choice for premenopausal women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer and face a heightened risk of recurrence. A new study suggests that the aromatase inhibitor exemestane, or Aromasin, works slightly better than tamoxifen in preventing cancer ...
At age 44, Bridget Hanchette, a mother of three from La Crosse, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with grade IV glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of malignant brain tumor. The cancer grows and spreads quickly, making it difficult to treat. Most patients with this diagnosis are not given much hope, but Hanchette’s i...
Survival rates for childhood cancer have improved tremendously over the past few decades, but postcancer care hasn’t always kept up. More children than ever are now coping with long-term complications and side effects caused by their disease and treatment — one of those being learning difficulties. A new ...
When Sheldon Querido, a retired manufacturer’s representative, was diagnosed with bladder cancer, his doctor told him that he’d need to have his bladder removed – and that he’d have to wear an external urine-collection bag for the rest of his life. “My first response was ‘I donR...
To stop smoking, two approaches might be better than one. A new study has found that using the medication varenicline, or Chantix – along with nicotine patches – was more effective than the medicine alone in helping people quit. The study, conducted by Stellanbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, and pub...
John Cloer was three months shy of his third birthday in 2004 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For the next three and a half years, he received chemotherapy at City of Hope, finally obtaining long-term remission. His parents Bill and Gina, along with John and his younger brother Steve, r...
News about the risks or benefits of widespread cancer screening seem to arrive daily – 3D mammography for breast cancer, CT scans for lung cancer, PSA tests for prostate cancer and now pelvic exams for some women’s cancers. Missing in the headlines is a reflection of how cancer detection is evolving. Today’s ca...
Adults with sickle cell disease soon may have a new treatment option: bone marrow transplants. Children with sickle cell disease have been treated successfully with transplantation of bone marrow, more officially known as hematopoietic stem cells, from other people. But the procedure has been less successful in...