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.
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...
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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...
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Appetite loss may be common during cancer treatment, lasting throughout your therapy or only occasionally, but it can be managed. Below are tips from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that can help you keep your weight up and, in doing so, keep your body well-nourished. (See the end of this article for a deli...
Myelodysplasia, sometimes referred to as myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, is a rare group of blood disorders caused by disrupted development of blood cells within the bone marrow, resulting in a decreased number of healthy blood cells. People diagnosed with the condition, considered a precancer, may be at great...
Twenty years ago, scientists discovered that a mutation in a gene now widely known as BRCA1 was linked to a sharply increased risk of breast cancer, paving the way for a new chapter in identifying women at risk of the disease and giving them options to potentially avoid an aggressive cancer. But experts have al...
The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope turned 54 this year. Marking the occasion, the academy announced a new scholarship in honor of longtime director Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D. Salvaterra, a professor in City of Hope’s Department of Neurosciences, has led the summer student acade...
Stevee Rowe has a very personal connection to the research she’s conducting on neural stem cells: Her late father participated in a City of Hope clinical trial involving neural stem cells. Rowe — her full name is Alissa Stevee Rowe, but she prefers to use her middle name — will enter her senior year at the [...
Although multiple myeloma is classified as a blood cancer, patients with this disease often experience bone-related symptoms, too. This includes bone pain, frequent fractures and spots of low bone density or bone damage that show up during a skeletal scan. Here, Amrita Krishnan, M.D., director of City of Hope...
Women using some birth control pills, specifically those with high doses of estrogen and a few other formulations, may be at an increased risk of breast cancer, a new study has found. At first glance, the findings seem alarming, but a City of Hope breast cancer surgeon is warning against overreaction. The study...
Cancer is hard enough on the immune system, and chemotherapy takes an additional toll. This double blow to the immune system means cancer patients are more likely to develop infections than people not fighting cancer. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one out of every 10 cancer...
Some proteins really know how to multitask. Some of the best are called G-protein coupled receptors, or GPCRs, for short. New research by City of Hope scientists Nagarajan Vaidehi, Ph.D., and Supriyo Bhattacharya, Ph.D., shows how a single GPCR can have very different effects in a cell depending on the molecule...
A common surgical device, often used for minimally invasive hysterectomies, may be riskier than previously thought because of its potential to spread several types of cancer, not just uterine cancer, a new study has found. One out of every 368 women treated with a power morcellator – a device that cuts the uter...