Cancer Biology and Molecular Medicine

Beckman Research Institute
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

Our Department within Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope advances translational medicine through breakthroughs in cancer biology using animal models, biomedical informatics, chemical biology and genomic approaches. 

The department is composed of a carefully crafted team of experts in chemistry, biology, biochemistry and biophysics that develops powerful approaches to cancer prevention, improves diagnostic tools for detecting cancer early (when it is most treatable), and identifies new target molecules to treat cancer. Our members study the biological and chemical processes of cancer development (known as carcinogenesis), and investigate the work of genes – understanding the basic mechanisms of genetics, gene expression and function, signaling pathways, mutagenesis, DNA repair, and epigenetics – specifically as they relate to the development and progression of cancer.

The research team creates personalized medicines from natural products, develops bioorganic approaches for cancer therapy, and evaluates genomic markers to predict cancer risk and response to therapy. By collaborating with multidisciplinary groups that include basic, translational and clinical researchers throughout City of Hope, we transform our key findings into novel therapies that improve the quality of life for patients everywhere. The goal of the department is to customize prevention and treatment of such illnesses by developing targeted therapies based on an individual’s genomic and epigenomic profiles. Success of our research will produce more effective clinical responses to the treatments and less drug toxicity and resistance.
The department has a robust pipeline of novel, molecularly targeted therapeutics that includes engineered antibodies and small molecules. To facilitate the translation of these and other clinical candidates, the department is home to the Chemical GMP Synthesis Facility (CGSF),  which is a 3000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility where our small and large molecule therapeutics are prepared for Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. The CGSF plays a key role in bridging basic science and translational medicine at City of Hope and allows for more efficient and cost-effective means to translate our science into clinical practice. We are able to bring promising new therapies to the patient faster and more effectively. 
To accomplish our mission, the research team uses approaches and technologies that include:

  • Sophisticated organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry
  • High-tech protein engineering
  • Functional genomics, proteomics, and microarray gene expression profiling
  • Single cell transcriptomics and spatial transcriptomics analyses
  • High throughput screens of plant extracts and chemical libraries
  • Advanced NMR spectroscopy and computational modeling
  • State-of-the-art X-ray crystallography
  • Leading-edge super-resolution microscopy

These activities are supported by the Drug Discovery and Structural Biology (DDSB) Core, which is also housed in the department.