Research Projects

The studies notedon this pagerepresent merely a sampling of multidisciplinary investigations with collaborative involvement of City of Hope researchers from theareas of medical and surgical oncology,nursing research and education, social services andclinical cancer genetics, as well as international researchers. Trainees may participate in these and other studies as part of their clinical research training in cancer genetics.

All of the projects ongoing in the divisions of Clinical Cancer Genetics (CCG) and Nursing Research and Education(NRE) are open to Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP) trainees.
Clinical Cancer Genetics Research Program
The Cancer Screening & Prevention Program Network (CSPPN) dovetails with laboratory research projects on detection of predisposing germline mutations, co-factor or modifier gene research and behavioral outcomes research. The multidisciplinary team has developed an IRB-approved confidential registry (#96144: Molecular Genetic Studies of Cancer Patients and Their Relatives), which allows patients who attend the CSPPN to participate in laboratory and psychosocial cancer genetics research projects. This registry protocol facilitates the collection of data on perceived cancer risk, as well as epidemiological, personal medical and family history, and biologic reagents for ancillary studies. Trainees may participate in ongoing clinical cancer genetics investigations currently underway, including:
  • Communication, content, and impact of genetics in breast cancer: A three-year study funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Program (PI: Deborah MacDonald, RN, MS, APNG.), its aims are to describe the characteristics, motivations, and concerns of women presenting for genetic counseling/testing for breast cancer predisposition and to measure the impact of genetic counseling/testing on risk perception, concerns about cancer, risk management practices, general mood and distress, and communicating risk.
  • Innovative Underserved Community-Based Cancer Risk Screening Project: After a successful pilot, CCG was recently granted an R01-level full award to establish a research collaboration with the underserved community organizations QueensCare Health & Faith Partnership and Olive View Medical Centerto determine the feasibility of establishing cost-effective cancer risk assessment services through research collaboration -- facilitated by modern teleconferencing and internet-based support -- between a Center of Excellence in clinical cancer genetics and community-based organizations that provide care to large multiethnic underserved populations. A long-term goal of the project is to decrease the incidence, severity, and death rate of cancer by creating a model for culturally appropriate, cost-effective genetic cancer risk assessment services to low-income, underserved, multiethnic populations.
Nursing Research and Education
Since its inception in 1966,  Nursing Research and Education programs have focused on two central issues: quality of life for cancer patients and survivors and symptom management, especially related to pain control. Drs .Marcia Grant (Co-investigator) and Betty Ferrell have funded training grants in pain management and end-of-life care. Dr. Grant is principal investigator of an annual research course funded by the NCI (CA09486) since 1984 for pre- and post- doctoral oncology nursing students. Studies by Dr. Grant and colleagues in quality of life began in the early 1980s with cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and have included patients with colostomies, cancer patients with uncontrolled pain, cancer survivors, breast cancer patients, family caregivers, and patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Her studies in pain management education began with the Pain Resource Nurse Training Program implemented in 1992 to prepare nurses to function as a resource and role model for nursing assessment and intervention in pain management.

The program includes:
  • Training of 32 multidisciplinary teams to serve as role models and catalysts to change the practice of pain management in their own institutions
  • A course for nurse educators, who provided pain management knowledge and related teaching approaches to undergraduate nursing school faculty
  • A course to improve the management of pain using a performance improvement model for nurses from acute and ambulatory settings
Other studies focus on examining coping strategies in breast cancer patients completing radiation therapy and comparing quality of life outcomes in survivors of bone marrow transplant and in ostomy patients. These multidisciplinary studies involve investigators in radiation oncology, hematology, medical oncology, social work, and clinical genetics. The clinical research involves qualitative and/or quantitative designs, and focuses on patient behavior.