An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Nora Heisterkamp, Ph.D., Dept. of Systems Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

Nora Heisterkamp, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Systems Biology
Research Focus
  • Pediatric hematologic malignancies
Nora Heisterkamp, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Systems Biology. Prior to City of Hope she was at the University of Southern California, where she was a Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Dr. Heisterkamp is a pioneer in cancer genetics and uncovered the structure of the so-called “Philadelphia chromosome” (Ph), the first known genetic lesion that was discovered as a cause of cancer in humans. After graduate training at the University of Groningen and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Dr. Heisterkamp joined the lab of John Stephenson, first at the Laboratory of Viral Carcinogenesis, a division of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Together with lab partner John Groffen, Ph.D., Dr. Heisterkamp identified the chromosomal translocation breakpoint of the Ph chromosome characteristic of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). She cloned and named the Breakpoint Cluster Region (BCR) gene and subsequently demonstrated that the BCR and ABL1 genes are rearranged in CML to form the BCR-ABL1 oncogene in Ph+ leukemias. The first BCR-ABL1 transgenic mouse model, generated by Dr. Heisterkamp demonstrated that BCR-ABL1 is indeed the causative genetic lesion in Ph+ leukemias. In 2016, Drs. Heisterkamp and Groffen received the Janet Rowley Prize from the International CML Foundation for their outstanding lifetime contributions to the understanding of the biology of CML.
Dr. Heisterkamp is a permanent member of the National Institutes for Health (NIH) Tumor Microenvironment Study Section. Her studies are supported by two R01 grants from the NCI.

  • Sheng X, Tucci J, Parmentier J-H, Ji L, Behan JW, Heisterkamp N, Mittelman SD. Adipocytes cause leukemia cell resistance to daunorubicin via oxidative stress response. Oncotarget,7: 73147-73159, 2016. PMID: 27705905
  • George AA, **Paz H, **Fei F, **Kirzner J, Kim Y-m, *Heisterkamp N, *Abdel-Azim H. Phosphoflow-based evaluation of MEK inhibitors as small-molecule therapeutics for B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. PLOS One, 10(9), e0137917, 2015. PMID:  26360058
  • Fei F, Joo EJ,, Tarighat SS,, Schiffer I, Paz H, Fabbri M, Abdel-Azim H,  Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia and stromal cells communicate through Galectin-3.  Oncotarget, 6, 11378-11394, 2015. PMID: 25869099
  • Fei F, Lim M, George A, Kirzner J, Lee D, Seeger R, Groffen J, *Abdel-Azim H, *Heisterkamp N. Cytotoxicity of CD56-positive lymphocytes against autologous B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. Leukemia, 29, 788-797, 2015. PMID: 25134458
  • Parameswaran R, Lim M, Fei F, Abdel-Azim H, Arutyunyan A, Schiffer I, McLaughlin ME, Gram H, Huet H, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. Effector-mediated eradication of precursor B acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a novel Fc engineered monoclonal antibody targeting the BAFF-R. Mol. Cancer Ther. 13, 1567-1577, 2014. PMID: 24825858
  • Gong D, Fei, F, Lim, M, Yu M, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. ABR, a GTPase activating protein for Rac, attenuates asthma in a mouse model of cockroach allergen-induced asthma. J Immunol. 191, 4514-4520, 2013. PMID: 24058174
  • Fei F, Abdel-Azim, H, Lim M, Arutyunyan A, von Itzstein M, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. Galectin-3 in pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Leukemia 27: 2385-2388, 2013. PMID: 23760399
  • Pramanik R, Sheng X, Ichihara B, Heisterkamp N, Mittelman SD. Adipose tissue attracts and protects acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells from chemotherapy. Leuk Res. 37:503-509 2013. PMID: 23332453
  • Hsieh Y-T, Gang EJ, Geng H Park E, Huantes S, Chudziak D, Dauber K, Schaefer P, Scharman C, Shimada H, Shojaee S, Klemm L, Parameswaran R, Loh M, Kang ES, Koo HH, Hofmann WK, Andrade J, Crooks GM, Willman CL, Müschen M, Papayannopoulou T, Heisterkamp N, Bönig H, Kim Y-M. Integrin alpha4 blockade sensitizes drug resistant pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia to chemotherapy. Blood, 121, 1814-1818, 2013. PMID: 23319569
  • Parameswaran R, Lim M, Arutyunyan A, Abdel-Azim H, Hurtz C, Lau K, Müschen M, Yu RK, von Itzstein M, *Heisterkamp N, *Groffen J. O-Acetylated N-acetylneuraminic acid as a novel target for therapy in human pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Exp Med, 210, 805-819, 2013. PMID: 23478187
  • Yu M, Gong D, Lim M, Arutyunyan A, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. Lack of Bcr and Abr promotes hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice. PLOS One 7: 2012. PMID: 23152932
  • Arutyunyan A, Stoddart S, Yi S-j, Fei F, Lim M, Groffen P, Feldhahn N, Groffen J, Heisterkamp, N. Expression of cassini, a murine gamma-satellite sequence conserved in evolution, is regulated in normal and malignant hematopoietic cells. BMC Genomics 13:418, 2012. PMID: 22916712
  • Park AR, Oh D, Lim SH, Choi J, Moon J, Yu DY, Park SG, Heisterkamp N, Kim E, Myung PK, Lee JR. Regulation of dendritic arborization by BCR Rac1 GTPase-activating protein, a new substrate of protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor T. J Cell Sci. 2012 PMID: 22767509.
  • Gong D, Shi W, Yi S-j, Chen H, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. TGF signaling plays a critical role in promoting alternative macrophage activation. BMC Immunology 13:31, 2012. PMID: 22703233
  • Fei F, Lim M, Schmidhuber S, Moll, J, Groffen J, Heisterkamp, N. Treatment of human acute B-lymphoblastic leukemia with the Aurora kinase inhibitor PHA-739358 (Danusertib). Mol Cancer 11:42, 2012  PMID: 22721004
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Nora Heisterkamp, Ph.D., Dept. of Systems Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

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