Directors' Message

City of Hope was founded in 1913, in Duarte, California, by working-class men and women who believed in helping those less fortunate than themselves. Although initially a tuberculosis sanatorium, research programs were initiated at City of Hope in 1951 and expanded rapidly until by the late 1970s approximately 130 PhD-level investigators were conducting a broad range of research programs throughout the institute.  

In 1983, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope was established with generous support from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The Institute is comprised of basic science research groups within the departments of Cancer Biology; Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics; Developmental and Stem Cell Biology; Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research; Experimental Therapeutics; ImmunoOncology; Information Sciences; Lymphoma SPORE; Molecular Immunology; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Molecular Medicine; and Population Sciences.

City of Hope has a long and impressive history of groundbreaking discoveries in the field of diabetes. In 2016 the Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute was founded. The institute is comprised of the following departments and programs: Clinical Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism; Diabetes Complications & Metabolism; Diabetes Immunology; Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology; Translational Research & Cellular Therapeutics, and The Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes.

Hematologic cancers are those cancers that occur in cells of the immune system or in bloodforming tissues, including bone marrow. As a pioneer in advancing care for all hematologic cancers and related blood disorders, City of Hope's Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute leads the field as one of the largest and most successful transplant centers in the world. The institute also houses the Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research, the Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center, the Judy and Bernard Briskin Center for Multiple Myeloma Research, the Center for Gene Therapy, the Center for Stem Cell Transplantation, the Survivorship Center and the Center for T Cell Transplantation.

City of Hope’s innovative research programs continue to evolve and grow in many promising areas, including production of functional human hormones, radioimmunotherapy, neurosciences, stem cell research, and gene therapy.

City of Hope is a pioneer in the field of hematopoietic cell transplantation, and research into this therapy has been supported by a National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health program project grant since 1981. The Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation program provides opportunities for basic science investigations, as well as developing mechanisms for delivery of genetic material and novel therapeutic agents.

Chemically synthesized genes produced in the Biology Division were used to develop the first recombinant human peptide hormone which led to the commercial production of human insulin (Humulin, now used by millions of people with diabetes worldwide). 

The study of monoclonal antibodies against the cancer antigen CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) led to establishment of the Radioimmunotherapy Program. Genetically engineered antibodies carrying radioactive isotopes are being used in cancer therapy trials and in studies designed to localize tumors in patients. The humanized monoclonal antibodies developed at City of Hope made possible the “smart” cancer drugs such as Herceptin, Rituxan, and Avastin, which are saving and extending lives.

Recent advances in neurosciences programs include the gene therapeutic “rescue” of neurotransmitter-deficient fruit flies; the discovery of necessary interaction between extracellular matrix molecules and neurotransmitter receptor gene expression; the identification of a motor neuronal-specific antigen that may be involved in the maintenance and regeneration of neuromuscular junctions; and the development of an organotypic spinal cord culture, valuable in studying nervous system development.