CAncer REsearch
2nd Quarter, 2013
 In This Issue 

  Cancer Center Member Spotlight
  Clinical Trial Spotlight
  Contact Us
  Did You Know?
  Director's Corner
  DOT Highlight
  Feature Story
  Funding Opportunities
  Help Us Help You
  In the News
  Latest Grant Awards
  New Faces
  Program Highlight
  Recent Publications
  Shared Resource Highlight
  Social Networking Tools
  You are Invited...

Research Programs
Our research efforts are organized in four research programs, which serve to foster interactions and collaborations within specific themes. Cancer center members are usually affiliated with one program but work with collaborators from different programs in multi-disciplinary groups.

The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center's four research programs are:

Cancer Prevention & Prognosis (CPP)
Chemical & Structural Biology (CSB)
Onco-Imaging & Biotechnology (OIB)
Systems, Pathways & Targets (SPT)
Associate Members (AS)

 Countdown to the Progress Report


days until the cancer center's progress report is due, Nov. 27, 2013.
 Did You Know?  


The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2002 and 2008 is 68 percent, up from 49 percent in 1975-1977.

Source: American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2013. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2013.

 You are Invited...  


Women’s DOT Meeting
Aug. 16, 11:30 a.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center
Building 55, Room 212

Skin DOT Meeting
Aug. 26, 6 p.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center
Building 22A, Room 2103/2104

Colon DOT Meeting
Aug. 27, 5 p.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center
Building 3, Room 101

Prostate DOT Meeting
Aug. 28, 1:30 p.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center
Building 22A, Room 2103/2104

Prostate DOT Meeting
Sept. 18, 1:30 p.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center
Location TBD

Women’s DOT Meeting
Sept. 20, 11:30 a.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center
Douglas Hospital, Room 4843

Skin DOT Meeting
Sept. 23, 1 p.m.
UC Irvine campus
BLI Library

Colon DOT Meeting
Sept. 24, 5 p.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center
Building 22A, Room 2103/2104

Chao Lectureship (Public)
Oct. 22
5 p.m. Reception
6 p.m. Lecture
Beckman Center, UC Irvine campus
"Understanding Performance: Can Exercise Mimetics Replace Exercise?"

Chao Lectureship (Scientific)
Oct. 23, Noon
Tamkin Lecture Hall (F-110)
UC Irvine campus
"Nuclear Receptors and the Hunger Games: From Feast to Famine"

 Funding Opportunities  


Internal Funding Opportunities

Please contact:
Jacqueline Tidball
Associate Director, CCSG Administration

External Funding Opportunities

The cancer center’s extramural awards analyst provides services that include researching federal and private funding opportunities and discovering project-specific funding sources, in addition to timely editorial and proposal writing support.

Please contact:
Alisz Demecs
Extramural Awards Analyst

 Latest Grant Awards  


Awards listed are cancer-related and more than $100,000 (direct).

Bruce Blumberg (SPT)
“Endocrine disrupter modulation of SXR in development and lymphomagenesis”
Direct Award: $1,225,000

Alexander Boiko (SPT)
“Isolation and Characterization of Tumor Stem Cells from Melanoma Patients”
Direct Award: $273,753

Thomas F. Schilling
“Regulation of Extracellular Matrix Assembly at the Myotendinous Junction”
Direct Award: $196,138

Kenneth Linden (AS)
“A prospective observational study of treatment patterns and effectiveness and safety outcomes in advanced basal cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma nevus syndrome patients”
Direct Award: $154,387

Daniele Piomelli (CSB)
“Research into the role of NAAA and FAAH inhibitors in both normal skin and various dermatological disease conditions”
Direct Award: $150,000
Thesan Pharm

Elizabeth Jarvo (AS)
"Synthesis, Mocrotubule Binding, and Anti-Cancer Activity of Diarylmethanes"
Direct Award: $142,488

Seery, Tara (AS)
“UCI 13-11: Ph 2 Randomized Multicenter Study of PEGPH20 combined with nab-Paclitaxel + Gemcitabine compared with nab-Paclitaxel + Gemcitabine in Subje”
Direct Award: $139,790
Halozyme Therapeutics

 Recent Publications  


Chen JH (OIB), Chen WP, Chan S, Yeh DC, Su MY (OIB), McLaren CE (CPP): Correlation of endogenous hormonal levels, fibroglandular tissue volume and percent density measured using 3D MRI during one menstrual cycle. Ann Oncol. 2013 May 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Lee C (CPP), Zhang Q, Kozlowski J, Brendler C, Soares MB, Dash A (SPT), McClelland M (CPP), Mercola D (CPP). Natural products and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling in cancer development and progression. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2013 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Liss MA, Billimek J, Osann K (AS), Cho J, Moskowitz R, Kaplan A, Szabo RJ, Kaplan SH, Greenfield S (CPP), Dash A (SPT): Consideration of comorbidity in risk stratification prior to prostate biopsy. Cancer 2013 Apr 25. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28044. [Epub ahead of print]

Mohan K, Donavan KC, Arter JA, Penner RM, Weiss GA (CSB). Sub-nanomolar Detection of Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen in Synthetic Urine by Synergistic, Dual-Ligand Phage. J Am Chem Soc. 2013 May 22;135(20):7761-7. doi: 10.1021/ja4028082. Epub 2013 May 13.

Plikus MV (SPT), Vollmers C, de la Cruz D, Chaix A, Ramos R, Panda S, Chuong CM. Local circadian clock gates cell cycle progression of transient amplifying cells during regenerative hair cycling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 20. [Epub ahead of print]

Smith EC, Ziogas A (CPP), Anton-Culver H (CPP). Delay in Surgical Treatment and Survival After Breast Cancer Diagnosis in Young Women by Race/Ethnicity. JAMA Surg. 2013 Apr 24:1-8. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.1680. [Epub ahead of print]

Wu B, Piloto S, Zeng W, Hoverter NP, Schilling TF (SPT), Waterman ML (SPT). Ring Finger Protein 14 is a new regulator of TCF/β-catenin-mediated transcription and colon cancer cell survival. EMBO Rep. 2013 Apr;14(4):347-55. doi: 10.1038/embor.2013.19. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

 Social Networking Tools  

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 Help Us Help You

Employee Bulletin
If you have a new grant, were recently published, won an award, or have other newsworthy items, please let us know so we can publicize them in the newsletter and other media outlets. You deserve the accolades!

Send items to: tidball@uci.edu

 Contact Us  

Jennifer Ivask
Community Engagement Manager

Jacqueline Tidball
Associate Director, CCSG Administration

 Useful Websites 

UC Irvine Links:
Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  Research Programs
   Shared Resources
   Disease Oriented Teams
   Clinical Trials

Cancer Research Institute
Center for Functional Onco-Imaging (CFOI)
Center for Complex Biological Systems (CCBS)
Beckman Laser Institute
Network for Translational Research Optical Imaging (NTROI)
Genetic Epidemiology Research Institute (GERI)
Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center
UC Irvine Health
UC Irvine School of Medicine
UC Irvine

Organizational Links:
National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Cooperative Links:
Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology
Children's Oncology Group
ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group
Gynecologic Oncology Group
National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project
Radiation Therapy Oncology Group

 Director's Corner

Sheldon Greenfield, MD
Interim Director, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Greenfield Springtime at the cancer center is an exciting time for our members as many attend national conferences to collaborate at events where the most exciting discoveries in cancer research are presented and many of those discoveries have resulted from our very own faculty here, at UC Irvine. I would like to briefly recap a few cancer center member achievements from the most recent cancer conferences.

The theme of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) this year is “Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer.” This conference encouraged scientific collaborations and contained several informative sessions, such as educational, special (a forum in which awards and lectures were presented) and presentations of scientific research abstracts. In particular, congratulations to cancer center member and GOG study chair Dr. Krishnansu Tewari (CPP), whose abstract (GOG240) revealed the results of a study that examined recurrent cervical cancer outcomes in patients who have had very limited treatment options. Dr. Tewari’s abstract was presented and ranked third out of more than 5,500 abstract submissions, was part of the ASCO press briefing (five abstracts only presented to over 300 reporters), part of the general plenary (five abstracts only), the subject of extensive media coverage (radio, television, websites, newspapers), the subject of press releases from the NCI and from Genentech, and has also been given the designation of Best of ASCO for subsequent meetings that will occur this year in Boston, Los Angeles, and other cities. This abstract was presented on June 2, 2013. To read more click here.

At the annual SWOG conference, cancer center member Dr. Jason Zell (CPP) answered questions about a new study called PACES (Preventing Adenomas of the Colon With Eflornithine and Sulindac), SWOG S0820. This study will examine whether the combination of eflornithine and sulindac will be effective in reducing a three-year event rate of adenomas and second primary colorectal cancers in patients previously treated for Stages 0 through III colon cancer. Dr. Zell, who is the national principal investigator, provided valuable information regarding this newly activated study in addition to providing available resources to help recruit participants to this study.

And finally, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conferred April 6-10. This year’s theme was “Personalizing Cancer Care Through Discovery Science,” and the conference emphasized that we are “Together for More Progress, More Hope, More Life.” Most notably, Dr. Steven George, of the Onco-Imaging and Biotechnology Program (OIB), presented an abstract on April 7, entitled, “Intermittent hypoxia stimulates capillary growth and branching in an in vitro model of tumor angiogenesis,” which explains the complex heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment to better understand tumor development.

I encourage you to take a brief look at these conference websites ASCO, SWOG PACES and AACR, for more information on the above-mentioned accomplishments. I encourage you to think about future presentations and collaborative opportunities in cancer research. I would like to congratulate our members for their participation in the recent national conferences, in addition to their achievements, and for your support in cancer research to further encourage discoveries. Please join me in congratulating our members for developing the latest technologies and making them available to you at UC Irvine.

Greenfield Signature

Sheldon Greenfield, MD
Interim Director
Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

 Feature Story  
UC Irvine chemists devise inexpensive, accurate way to detect prostate cancer
Method could facilitate commercially available, at-home urine tests


Gregory A. Weiss, PhD

Early screening for prostate cancer could become as easy for men as personal pregnancy testing is for women, thanks to UC Irvine research published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

After more than a decade of work, UC Irvine chemists have created a way to clearly identify clinically usable markers for prostate cancer in urine, meaning that the disease could be detected far sooner, with greater accuracy and at dramatically lower cost. The same technology could potentially be used for bladder and multiple myeloma cancers, which also shed identifiable markers in urine.

“Our goal is a device the size of a home pregnancy test priced around $10. You would buy it at the drugstore or the grocery store and test yourself,” said the study’s corresponding author, Reginald Penner, UC Irvine Chancellor’s Professor of chemistry. “We’re on the verge of a very important breakthrough in a new era of personal health management.”

 In the News  
Bevacizumab significantly improves survival for patients with recurrent and metastatic cervical cancer
Findings show first advance in treatment of advanced disease in decades


Krishnansu S. Tewari, MD

Patients with advanced, recurrent, or persistent cervical cancer that was not curable with standard treatment who received the drug bevacizumab (Avastin) lived 3.7 months longer than patients who did not receive the drug, according to findings from a large, randomized clinical trial.

The clinical trial, known as GOG240, was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted by a network of researchers led by the Gynecologic Oncology Group. Genentech, South San Francisco, Calif., the drug manufacturer, provided support for the trial under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NCI for the clinical development of bevacizumab.

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Making breast cancer surgery more precise
UC Irvine Health is the first in U.S. to use MarginProbe in lumpectomies


Alice Police, MD

Any breast cancer surgeon who regularly performs lumpectomies confronts the question “Did I get it all?” Thirty to 60 percent of the time in the U.S., the answer is “no,” requiring the patient to undergo a second surgery to remove the remaining tumor.

Surgeons at UC Irvine Medical Center are the first in the country to use a device that reduces by half the need to reoperate and cut out breast cancer cells missed during an initial lumpectomy. The MarginProbe System lets the surgeon immediately assess whether cancer cells remain on the margins of excised tissue. Currently, patients have to wait days for a pathologist to determine this.

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Can peeing in a cup reveal if you have breast cancer?

Levin In the News: SHAPE Magazine interviewed Dr. Alice Police, cancer center associate member, a surgical oncologist with UC Irvine Health and the medical director of Pacific Breast Care, for an article about new urine tests that may detect breast cancer signs. In the blind study of 300 breast cancer patients and 100 cancer-free participants, researchers used a device called a P-scan to look for an abnormally high concentration of metabolites called pteridines in the urine samples.

“This is very exciting news. If it works, you don't need a needle, a mammogram, or any sort of expensive imaging to initially detect cancer,” says Police.

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UC Irvine study may point to new treatments for liver diseases

Levin By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.

With this finding, Dr. Ellis Levin, cancer center member (SPT), and colleagues believe they are changing long-held views in the field. Study results appear in the May 21 issue of the journal Science Signaling.

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Timing of cancer radiation therapy may minimize hair loss, researchers say
Discovery of circadian clock in mice hair reveals period of time when damage from radiotherapy can be quickly repaired, keeping hair intact


Maksim Plikus, PhD

Discovering that mouse hair has a circadian clock – a 24-hour cycle of growth followed by restorative repair – researchers suspect that hair loss in humans from toxic cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy might be minimized if these treatments are given late in the day.

The study, which appears in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that mice lost 85 percent of their hair if they received radiation therapy in the morning, compared to a 17 percent loss when treatment occurred in the evening.

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Undergrad overachiever
Thanks to a UC Irvine research program, junior Bryan Xie is already co-author of a groundbreaking study

Undergrad Like a mother cooking for a picky eater, Bryan Xie spent months under the hood in a lab designing a chemical marker that he could feed to a living cell. The goal: to get that cell to consume the marker, light up with a reaction and allow researchers a good look at its structure.

Xie tried different recipes – chemical combinations really – working 20 to 25 hours a week alongside graduate students in the lab of Jennifer Prescher, PhD, cancer center member (OIB) and UC Irvine assistant professor of chemistry, molecular biology & biochemistry, and pharmaceutical sciences.

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UC Irvine project has received University of California grant designed to improve patient care and reduce the risk of clinical harm to surgery patients

Stamos The University of California has awarded 11 grants totaling $5.4 million for projects designed to improve patient care and reduce the risk of clinical harm to UC surgery patients. One of the awardees includes a multisite project with Dr. Michael Stamos, cancer center member (CPP), as project director.

Dr. Stamos' project, "High-Risk Colon and Rectal Surgery Intervention Program," received $1 million over three years. He will collaborate with the following campus leads: Kathrin Troppmann, MD, UC Davis; Clifford Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, UCLA; Sonia Ramamoorthy, MD, FACS, FASCRS, UC San Diego; and Madhulika Varma, MD, UCSF

Learn More

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UC Irvine study finds that comorbidities should be a factor in prostate biopsy choice; the finding targets patients who would not benefit from a biopsy


Atreya Dash, MD and
Sheldon Greenfield, MD

UC Irvine Health urologists and health policy experts report in a new study that two written assessments that identify existing comorbidities – the patient-reported Total Illness Burden Index for Prostate Cancer (TIBI-Cap) and the physician-reported Charlson Comorbidity Index – can successfully target prostate patients who would not benefit from biopsy to discover possible cancer.

Learn More

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Tenacity pays off for tissue engineer
Public Impact Fellowship supports Seema Ehsan’s efforts to develop a better way of testing cancer drugs

Ehsan The cost of bringing a new drug to the marketplace, from discovery to clinical trials, ranges from $55 million to more than $1 billion. Seema Ehsan aspires to change that, particularly for cancer drugs. A chemical engineering doctoral candidate, she spends eight to 10 hours a day in the laboratory growing tumors.

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Breast cancer treatment delays linked to decreased survival


Young women and adolescents whose breast cancer treatment is delayed six weeks or more have significantly decreased survival times, according to a study by UC Irvine epidemiologists, Hoda Anton-Culver, PhD, and Al Ziogas, PhD. This is especially true for African-Americans, Latinas, women with public or no insurance, and those with low socioeconomic status, the study showed.

Their findings appear online in JAMA Surgery, a publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Learn More

 Clinical Trial Spotlight  
UCI-13-13: “Pilot study on in-vivo non-invasive skin imaging using multiphoton microscopy"

Principal Investigator: Kristen Kelly, MD, (OIB)

KellyRecently, the Department of Dermatology at UC Irvine and researchers from Beckman Laser Institute (BLI) started a study for testing the capability of a novel laser-based microscope to identify various skin conditions by capturing high-resolution skin images. The laser-based microscope, developed by JenLab, Inc. in Germany, is the only one of its kind in U.S. The instrument provides noninvasive “optical biopsies” by capturing images of human skin components (cells, collagen, elastin fibers). It is relatively quick (about 30 minutes) and painless.

The clinical study performed at the BLI Medical Clinic with this instrument allows researchers to identify key features in skin lesions. This is important in order to evaluate the ability of this new technology for early diagnosis of skin diseases such as melanoma and other skin cancers. This is the first clinical translational study of multiphoton laser-based microscopy in the U.S. for characterization and diagnosis of skin cancers. This technique may one day replace the current method in which dermatologists have to cut into the skin and wait several days to a week for results.

Learn More

 Cancer Center Member Spotlight  

The Cancer Center Member Spotlight recognizes the diverse contributions made by the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center members in research, education and patient care. The profiled members reflect the great work being done here and the dedication and values we possess. To suggest someone to be profiled, please contact Jacqueline Tidball at tidball@uci.edu

Leslie M.Randall, MD (SPT)
Assistant Professor, Gynecologic Oncology

Randall Dr. Leslie M. Randall completed her Fellowship training at UC Irvine’s Division of Gynecologic Oncology in July of 2009 with the help of a T32 Training Grant that was awarded to UC Irvine. As a gynecologic oncology fellow, she was trained in translational research methods, completing four translational research projects for the cooperative Gynecologic Oncology Group and SWOG. She was additionally well-trained in clinical research by supervising many patients enrolled on clinical trials.

Dr. Randall’s current research interests include clinical investigation of novel therapeutics for ovarian cancer and preclinical investigation of functional radiologic imaging (MRI with single-photon emission computed tomography) markers of tumor response to these therapies for which she collaborates with the Center for Onco-Imaging. These efforts are supported by a career development award from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Foundation.

Clinically, Dr. Randall is skilled in the comprehensive care of women with all gynecologic cancers, providing both medical and surgical cancer treatments, with a focus on robotic surgery and complex chemotherapy regimens. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology.

Outside of UC Irvine, Dr. Randall has interest in dissemination of ovarian cancer information to the public. To this end, she serves as the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists Communications Committee co-chair and as a member of the Medical Advisory Board to the Ovarian Cancer Orange County Alliance. Under a state grant, she has led two Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Prevention Strategies Symposia.

• 2012 AACR/ASCO Workshop: Methods in Clinical Cancer Research
• 2012 Recipient, American Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Foundation/American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research Scholarship

Learn More

 Program Highlight  

Onco-Imaging and Biotechnology (OIB)

Program Leaders: Christopher Hughes, PhD, and Bruce Tromberg, PhD
Working Group Leader: Lydia Su, PhD

Onco-Imaging and Biotechnology (OIB) now combines all aspects of advanced cancer technology development at UC Irvine into a single program. Former OIS co-leaders and imaging experts Bruce Tromberg and Lydia Su are now OIB co-leader and working group leader, respectively. Former Growth Factors and Signaling (GFS) co-leader and Biotechnology expert Christopher Hughes is now OIB co-leader. Major scientific efforts are in four areas:
  • The development of biophotonics technologies for cancer imaging and therapy that probe cellular and molecular function and span across spatial scales
  • The development of MRI, X-ray, and nuclear imaging methods and their integration into multimodality imaging platforms for applications in small animal imaging and the clinic
  • Development of nano- and microfluidic technologies and integrated “lab on a chip” systems to advance cellular and molecular diagnostics for improved cancer detection and therapy
  • New technologies, materials, and methods for in vitro engineered tissues that recapitulate interactions between cells, vasculature and extracellular matrix
Learn More

 Shared Resource Highlight  

In each issue of CAncer REsearch, we take an in-depth look at one of the seven core facilities supported by the cancer center. We also have a quarterly shared resources
e-newsletter that contains important updates from all our Shared Resources. If you would like to receive our Shared Resources newsletter in your inbox, please send an email with “Shared Resources Newsletter” in the subject line to tidball@uci.edu

Transgenic Mouse Facility (TMF)
Director: Grant MacGregor, DPhil
Facility Manager: Tom Fielder

MacGregorThe Transgenic Mouse Facility (TMF) facilitates the use of genetically modified mice in biological and biomedical research. An important goal of the TMF is to identify new technology and methodology that is likely to benefit UC Irvine investigators using the mouse in their research programs and to import and provide such technology to UC Irvine investigators. The TMF makes investigators aware of new and existing developments via the TMF website, in seminars and lectures, via the UC Irvine MouseUsers email list and by word of mouth.

Our primary goal is to offer cutting-edge services at the lowest cost while producing yields and outcomes that are as good as or better than similar facilities at other academic institutions. Our established track record documents our ability to help develop in vivo mammalian models of cancer with successful outcomes and to provide strains of mice that are critical to understanding the molecular basis of cancer. The TMF currently employs three full-time staff. We benefit by receiving support for financial management, and animal ordering and receipt from UC Irvine's University Laboratory Animal Resource (ULAR). In a typical year we provide services to 30-40 different clients, on and off campus. Some services involve multi-year collaborations; (e.g., long-term breeding projects). Specialized equipment includes microinjection workstations, electrophoresis and Southern blotting equipment for high-throughput screening of embryonic stem cell clones, a controlled-rate freezer for cryopreservation of preimplantation stage embryos, and an IVF incubator. We have a proven track record in the manipulation of preimplantation stage embryos to produce genetically modified mice. During the past year we have introduced an exciting new service: inducible and reversible gene knockdown.

Services Provided:
  • Facilitate awareness of valuable resources for cancer research involving genetically modified mice via links on the TMF website (e.g., NCI Cancer Genome Anatomy Project (CGAP), Mouse Tumor Biology Database, NCI Mouse Models of Human Cancers Consortium)
  • Technical advice for strategies to develop new strains of genetically modified mice (e.g., design of mutant alleles, design of genotyping assays, sourcing and acquisition of DNA vectors, ES cell lines and mouse strains)
  • DNA purification and pronuclear injection to produce random-integration transgenic mice
  • ES cell culture to produce and characterize gene-targeted clones
  • Southern analysis of mouse genomic DNA, including probe design and testing
  • Mouse ES cell chromosome-counting service
  • Targeted transgenesis (insertion of transgenes into ROSA26 locus)
  • Blastocyst injection of ES cells to produce chimeric mice
  • Breeding, including crossing with mice expressing CRE or FLP in germline for removal of drug-selection DNA cassettes
  • Developing new lines of ES cells using 2i (MAPK- and GSK3β -inhibitor) method
  • Rederivation by embryo transfer to eliminate pathogens
  • Cryopreservation of mouse embryos and sperm
  • In-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer to reanimate mouse strains and import new strains
  • Molecular genotyping (including development of new assays)
  • Presenting seminars, training sessions, and lectures in courses at UC Irvine

Learn More

 Disease Oriented Team (DOT) Highlight  

Skin DOT (S-DOT)




Co-leaders: Anthony Durkin, PhD, Kristen Kelly, MD, and Kenneth Linden, MD, PhD

The Skin DOT (S-DOT) conducted two meetings during the second quarter of 2013. Hughlights from these meetings include:

April Meeting
John Murray, PIO/media relations manager, UC Irvine Health, will pitch certain open and pending trials through a UC Irvine-focused section in the OC Register, in addition to working with cancer center administration on the IRB for media advisory language. Dr. Jennifer Soung, director of clinical trials, Department of Dermatology, prompted a discussion about a new malignant melanoma trial and potential mechanisms to bring studies to UC Irvine. Prevention and melanoma in-situ trials would be excellent for our patient population. Skin DOT would like to focus on new trials for UC Irvine and we want to involve all interested faculty.

June Meeting
Rolf Saager, PhD, presented “Toward Optimization of Photodynamic Therapy of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Quantitative Reflectance Imaging” at the June Skin DOT meeting. This work has generated considerable interest in the community. Skin DOT continues to grow and new members at this meeting were Larisa Lehmer, medical student (working on angiogenesis with Drs. Christopher Hughes and Kristen Kelly) and Denise Lenuti, Health Advancement director. John Murray displayed the new UC Irvine Health website medical services section, which features disease-specific searches. He would also like to highlight faculty lectures and patient stories on the website. Dr. Kenneth Linden will lead the charge for new melanoma trials and wants to promote the unique expertise of UC Irvine for this disease. Wendy Lynch, Cancer Registry, announced that melanoma is the No. 1 cancer seen at UC Irvine.

Learn More


CREAWClinical Research Education & Awareness Week award winners announced

The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Clinical Research Education & Awareness Week honored outstanding performers at UC Irvine who exemplified teamwork and excellence in clinical research throughout 2012. Some of the award winners are listed below. For more information on all of the award winners click on the link below.

Michael Hudson Caregiver of the Year Award: Nancy Eagan

Friends of Research Awards:

Discover Category (for excellence in research)
Peter Kaiser, PhD; Rick Lathrop, PhD; Richard Chamberlain, PhD; G. Wesley Hatfield, PhD; and Hartmut Luecke, PhD

Teach Category (for excellence in education)
Jose Carrillo, MD

Heal Category (for excellence in patient care)
James G. Jakowatz, MD

Chao Champion of the Year Award: Beverly Alger

Top Investigator Awards (# of patients accrued):

1st Place Ignatius Ou, MD, PhD (147)
2nd Place Thomas E. Ahlering, MD (107)
3rd Place John P. Fruehauf, MD (33)

Prevention: Jason A. Zell, DO (16)
Supportive Care: Thomas E. Ahlering, MD (44)
Epidemiology: Hoda Anton-Culver, PhD (1,674)
Screening: Jaime Landman, MD (49)
Correlative: Philip M. Carpenter, MD (312)
Young Investigator: Tara Seery, MD (11)

Learn More

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Dr. Ellis R. Levin awarded 2013 Solomon A. Berson Distinguished Researcher Award

Ellis R. Levin (SPT), MD, professor of medicine, biological chemistry and pharmacology, and chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at UC Irvine and the Long Beach VA Hospital, has been honored with the 2013 Solomon A. Berson Distinguished Researcher Award and Lectureship from the American Physiological Society, Endocrinology Division. The award is the highest one presented by the division. In the 20 years of this award, many members of the National Academy of Sciences, recipients of the National Medal of Science and other prestigious awardees, have been honored with the Berson award. The award is in recognition of Dr. Levin’s work on estrogen receptors outside the nucleus that mediates important functions of this steroid in breast cancer and the cardiovascular system, and is applicable to many other steroid receptors, including progesterone and androgen receptors in breast and prostate cancer, respectively. Dr. Levin received the award April 22 at American Physiological Society’s Experimental Biology meetings in Boston.

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Dr. Leonard Sender awarded as an Outstanding Community Health Care Provider

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science announced Dr. Leonard Sender (CPP) as an Outstanding Community Health Care Provider for 2013. This award is presented to an investigator whose work has made a substantial impact in Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) through work to reduce health disparities in Orange County. Dr. Sender is the director of clinical oncology services at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UC Irvine Medical Center; medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC); and Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty (PSF) Division Chief of Oncology. Dr. Sender's research partnership, community involvement and research into the health disparities of the AYA population clearly demonstrates exceptional collaboration with the community and within the CBPR.

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Park-Tanjasiri Weaving an Islander Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (WINCART) awarded the 2013 Outstanding Community Partnership Award
The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science announced WINCART as the 2013 Outstanding Community Partnership Award Recipient. This annual award is presented to a research partnership composed of campus researchers and community organization that has demonstrated exceptional collaboration in Community Based Participatory Research. WINCART is a Community Network Program Center based at California State University, Fullerton that is composed of six community-based organizations and researchers from three universities with the shared goal of reducing disparities in cancer incidence and mortality in the Pacific Islander community in Southern California. This wonderful partnership conducts community-based research focused on cancer prevention, early detection and cancer survivorship needs and issues. Since their inception in 2005 they have collaborated on over a dozen research projects. Sora Park Tanjasiri, DrPH, MPH, WINCART principal investigator, is a member of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and is in the Cancer Prevention & Prognosis research program.

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AthenaAthena Breast Health Network awarded Interdisciplinary Team Science Award
The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science announced the Athena Breast Health Network as the 2013 Interdisciplinary Team Science Award recipient. The ICTS Interdisciplinary Team Science Award has been established by the UC Irvine ICTS to celebrate the importance of interdisciplinary teams to the translation of research discoveries into clinical applications and, eventually, clinical practice. The UC Irvine Athena Team is multidisclipinary, spanning basic scientists in epidemiology and statistics to translational scientists and clinicians in various departments, enabling the accomplishment of clinical and research projects that would have been impossible without the collaborative, multidisciplinary team. Each of the UC Irvine Athena Team members is involved in at least one working group or clinical and research team in the UC-wide Athena network, often working with investigators in other departments at UC Irvine and at other UCs. The UC Irvine Athena Team is supported by the principal investigator, program director, administrator and IT coordinator, who facilitate the collaborations.

Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center members who are a part of the Athena Breast Health Network team are:

Hoda Anton-Culver, PhD (CPP)
Philip Carpenter, MD (SPT)
Ramez Eskander, MD (AS)
David Hsiang, MD (OIB)
Karen Lane, MD (CPP)
Fritz Lin, MD (AS)
Christine McLaren, PhD (CPP)
Rita Mehta, MD (OIB)
Chaitali Nangia, MD (AS)
Alice Police, MD (AS)
Nilam Ramsinghani, MD (AS)
Leonard Sender, MD (CPP)
Lydia Su, PhD (OIB)
Krishnansu Tewari, MD (CPP)
Argyrios Ziogas, PhD (CPP)

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WongDr. Brian Wong awarded 2013 Clinical Translational Scientist of the Year Award
The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science announced Dr. Brian Wong as the 2013 Clinical Translational Scientist of the Year Award recipient. Dr. Wong has been at UC Irvine since 1990 and has progressed through the academic ranks from intern, resident, fellow, clinical instructor, to his current position as professor, vice-chairman, and fellowship director in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. In addition to working with local companies, Dr. Wong has collaborated with a number of different companies throughout United States. In each case the focus of this work has been on developing and defining technology that could be moved into direct patient use and development of product. There are very few physicians with the breadth of research interest and creativity that Dr. Wong has, and even fewer have the ability to work across a broad range of disciplines and topics. Rarely does one find an individual with the breadth of knowledge and expertise to understand both the fundamental science and technology in an emerging field, and also to understand user needs in order to make something that is of practical value. He is uniquely positioned because of his expertise in engineering and medicine.

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BestDocsBest Doctors in America®
More than 100 UC Irvine Health physicians were named Best Doctors in America® in the latest poll compiled by Boston-based Best Doctors Inc. The respected list of more than 45,000 U.S. physicians represents the top 5 percent of doctors nationwide. A total of 28 cancer center members (listed below) were included on this list.

With 110 “Best Doctor” honorees, UC Irvine Health has more physicians trusted by other doctors than any other medical group in Orange County and the region. For the full list of our UC Irvine Health 2013-2014 Best Doctors in America®, click here.

Colon and Rectal Surgery
Alessio Pigazzi, MD, PhD (SPT)
Michael J. Stamos, MD (CPP)

Critical Care Medicine and Pulmonology Medicine
Matthew Brenner, MD (OIB)

Anand Ganesan, MD, PhD (SPT)
Sergei Grando, MD, PhD (CPP)
Kristen M. Kelly, MD (OIB)
Kenneth G. Linden, MD, PhD (AS)

Gregory Albers, MD (AS)
Kenneth J. Chang, MD (CPP)

Medical Onocology and Hematology
Frank Meyskens, MD (CPP)
Sai-Hong Ignatius Ou, MD, PhD (SPT)

Obstetrics and Gynecology
Michael L. Berman, MD (AS)
Robert E. Bristow, MD, MBA (CPP)
Krishnansu S. Tewari, MD (CPP)

William Armstrong, MD (AS)
Brian J.F. Wong, MD (OIB)

Fritz Lin, MD (AS)

Pediatric Specialist
Leonard Sender, MD (CPP)

Plastic Surgery
Gregory R. Evans, MD (CPP)

David Imagawa, MD, PhD (SPT)
Ninh T. Nguyen, MD (AS)

Surgical Oncology
John Butler, MD (OIB)

Thoracic Surgery
Jeffrey C. Milliken, MD (AS)

Thomas E. Ahlering, MD (CPP)
Atreya Dash, MD (SPT)
Jaime Landman, MD (SPT)
Elspeth McDougall, MD (AS)

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 New Faces  
Please Join Us in Welcoming our New Cancer Center Members!

Steven Gross, PhD,
is a professor in the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Physics at UC Irvine. Recently, his lab has been investigating regulation of kinesin-family motors, in particular, of Eg5, a motor that plays a crucial role in cell division, by being essential for appropriate function of the mitotic spindle. If Eg5's function is impaired, the phenotype is a monopolar (rather than bipolar) spindle, resulting in arrest of the cell cycle. A selective drug of Eg5, Ispinesib, is currently in clinical trials. Ispinesib has been tested in a variety of both solid and hematologic cancers , in nine Phase 2 clinical trials and eight Phase 1 or 1b clinical trials. Clinical activity for ispinesib has been observed in non-small cell lung, ovarian and breast cancers, with the most clinical activity observed in a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating it in the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer that had failed treatment with taxanes and anthracyclines. Gross’ resarch has discovered a novel cellular regulatory pathway--that is up-regulated in cancer cells--and that upregulates Eg5 activity. Futher, increased activity of this pathway directly blocks the function of Ispinesib and monasterol, two drugs that block Eg5 function. Thus, Gross hopes to develop a new class of drugs that block the activity of this pathway on Eg5, thus potentiating the role of these potential anti-cancer drugs. Gross has been appointed as a full member in the Systems, Pathways & Targets Research Program.

Jun Zhang, PhD,
is an assistant research professor with the Beckman Laser Institute at UC Irvine. Zhang’s research experience and interests are in the areas of development of optical coherence tomography (OCT), fiber-optic endoscopy, fiber laser and translation of these techniques to address clinical problems including early detection and therapy of laryngeal, oral, oropharyngeal and airway cancers. He has an extensive background in theoretical, experimental, hardware and software aspects used in optical imaging, with specific training and extensive research experience in key areas for this application including optics, engineering and translational research. Zhang has been appointed as an associate member.