myCommunity Update
  1st Quarter, 2012
To view on the Web browser, click here.
 In This Issue 

  Cancer Center Member Spotlight
  Clinical Trial Spotlight
  Contact Us
  Countdown to ESAB
  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...

 Countdown to ESAB  


26 days until our External Scientific Advisory Board site visit on May 28-29, 2012.
 Did You Know?  


UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only 12 institutions nationwide to be part of the NCI’s Cancer Genetics Network to examine the complex interactions between genes and cancer.   For more information, please visit

 You are Invited...  


UCI Campuswide Symposium on Basic Cancer Research
May 5, 9 a.m.
UC Irvine Campus, 105 Sprague Hall

ActNOW: African American Cancer Care Conference
May 5, 9 a.m.
UC Irvine Medical Center, Building 22A, 2nd Floor

Chao Lectureship Series (Scientific Lecture)
May 15, noon
“Cancer Therapy Based on the Ras Pathway”
UC Irvine Campus, Tamkin Hall, F110

Chao Lectureship Series (Public Lecture)
May, 15, 5 p.m. – Reception
May, 15, 6 p.m.
“Future Prospects of Curing Cancer”
UC Irvine Campus, Tamkin Hall, F110

External Scientific Advisory Board
May 28 – 29, UC Irvine Medical Center

 Funding Opportunities  


National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
American Cancer Society (ACS)
Department of Defense (DOD)
CFCCC Funding Opportunities

 Latest Grant Awards  


Awards listed are cancer related and more than $100,000.

David Fruman (SPT)
“TOR Kinase Inhibitors for Leukemia Therapy: Mechanisms of Action and Resistance”
Total Award: $1,083,200

Bruce Blumberg (SPT)
“Is bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE) an obesogen?”
Total Award: $300,000

Ke-Quin Hu (Associate Member)
“A Phase 2 Randomized, Open-Label, Exploratory Trial of GS-5885, GS-9451 with Peginterferon Alfa 2a (PEG) and Ribavirin (RBV) in Treatment-Naive Subjects with Chronic Genotype 1 Hepatitis C Virus Infection and IL28B CC Genotype”
Total Award: $213,724
Gilead Sciences Inc

Sai-hong Ou (SPT)
“UCI 11-17:A Multicenter Randomized Double-blind Placebo-controlled Phase 3 Trial of E7080 In IRefractory Differentiated Thyroid Cancer”
Total Award: $137,223
Eisai Companies

John Fruehauf (SPT)
“UCI 11-34: Ph 3 randomized double-blind multicenter trial comparing Orteronel + Prednisone with placebo + Prednisone in Pts with chemo-naive Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer”
Total Award: $130,008
Millenium Pharmaceuticals

Irene Pedersen (SPT)
“Cooperation of PTEN and SHIP as Tumor Suppressors in B-cells”
Total Award: $127,056

Paolo Sassone-Corsi (SPT)
“Role of the Circadian Clock in Oncogene-Induced Senescence and Tumorigenesis”
Total Award: $116,854
Associazione Italiana per la Reserca sul Cancro

*NIH Environmental Health Sciences

 Recent Publications  


Bota, D.A. (CPP), Linskey M.E. (AS)
“Epidemiology of Central Nervous System Metastases.”

Corn, R.M. (CSB)
“Near infrared surface plasmon resonance phase imaging and nanoparticle-enhanced surface plasmon resonance phase imaging for ultrasensitive protein and DNA biosensing with oligonucleotide and aptamer microarrays.”

Levin, E.R. (SPT)
“DHHC-7 and -21 are palmitoylacyltransferases for sex steroid receptors.”

Morgan, T.R. (CPP)
 “Frequency of elevated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) biomarkers in patients with advanced hepatitis C.”

Poulos, T.L. (CSB)
“Structural and Mechanistic Insights into the Interaction of Cytochrome P4503A4 with Bromoergocryptine, a Type I Ligand.”

Learn More

 Social Networking Tools  

Facebook Twitter
The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is now on Facebook and Twitter!

 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:

 Contact Us  

Jennifer Ivask
Community Outreach Specialist

Alisz Demecs
Extramural Awards Analyst

Jacqueline Tidball
Associate Director, CCSG Administration

 Useful Websites 

UC Irvine Links:
Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
   Research Programs
   Shared Resources
   Disease Oriented Teams
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 Healthcare
UC Irvine Health Affairs
Uc Irvine School of Medicine
UC Irvine

Organizational Links:
National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Cooperative Links:
American College of Surgeons Oncology Group
Gynecologic Oncology Group
National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project
Radiation Therapy Oncology Group
Southwest Oncology Group

 Director's Corner

Frank L. Meyskens Jr., M.D., F.A.C.P.
Director, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Meyskens Clinical Research Education and Awareness Week (CREAW) was a huge success! Highlights included the introduction of four newly formed Disease Oriented Teams with many awards presented at the end of the week which included the Michael Hudson Caregiver of the Year, Chao Champion of the Year and Top Investigator Awards, just to name a few. I am especially grateful for our Friends of Research Awards that emphasize UC Irvine’s mission to Discover. Teach. Heal. Dr. Ignatius Ou received the award for excellence in research (Discover); Dr. Jason Zell was awarded for excellence in education (Teach) and the Infusion Center Team received its award in patient care (Heal).

As part of CREAW, the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (CFCCC), in conjunction with the Hudson-Davidson Foundation, has established a challenge gift to allow all employees the opportunity to help support the needs of our patients and families in a unique way. To read about the Michael Hudson story click here. The Hudson Davidson family is challenging UC Irvine faculty and staff to raise $200,000 by December 31, 2013. In return, the Hudson Davidson Foundation has agreed to match every donation up to $200,000. With the potential of $400,000, the fund will be an endowment that will last forever. Our cancer patients and their families will benefit greatly!

Dr. Allan Hubbell of UC Irvine's CFCCC and Dr. Sora Park Tanjasiri of California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), submitted a P20 application on April 19 to establish a collaborative partnership to develop pilot research projects between faculty members at CSUF and UC Irvine’s CFCCC that will generate preliminary data for R01 or other competitively funded grant applications. The project will mentor and train early stage investigators at both institutions in cancer health disparities research.  The partnership plans to fund four projects during the length of the award.  We will keep you posted on the status of this submission.

The External Scientific Advisory Board will be held on May 28 and 29.  Cancer Center senior leadership and directors from around the country will come to UC Irvine to evaluate our research program and recommend strategies to continually provide patients with leading-edge science and new technologies.


 Feature Story  

Ulrike Luderer: Roles of Toxic Environmental Exposure Effect in Ovarian Failure and Ovarian Cancer

Ulrike Bridge funding from the Cancer Center enabled Dr. Ulrike Luderer to maintain her mouse colony, which was necessary for additional preliminary data to be captured. A recent interview with Dr. Luderer revealed her research findings, which focuses on toxic environmental exposures, ovarian failure and ovarian cancer. The following is what she details: Most ovarian cancer in women occurs after menopause, and several environmental chemicals that cause premature ovarian failure in animal models also cause ovarian cancer. The RO1 grant titled, “Developmental Gene-Environment Interactions and Premature Ovarian Failure”, focuses on the roles of environmental pollutants called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are found in air pollution, tobacco smoke and charred foods, in causing premature ovarian failure. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are known to be toxic to the ovaries in animals and humans and cause ovarian tumors in animals. In addition, women who smoke have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. This project also seeks to understand genetic factors that may affect sensitivity to the ovarian toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. “Specifically, we are investigating how genetic deficiency in the antioxidant tripeptide glutathione modifies sensitivity to the ovarian toxicity of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during ovarian development,” states Dr. Luderer. “Our data show that female mice with a genetic deficiency in glutathione synthesis are more sensitive to the ovarian toxicity of prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons than are their littermates with normal glutathione synthesis.” Polymorphisms in the genes that regulate glutathione synthesis exist in humans. Dr. Luderer’s findings suggest that these polymorphisms may modify sensitivity of women to ovarian toxicity and ovarian carcinogenesis.

 In the News  

UC Irvine Healthcare Promotes Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Michael StamosMarch was National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and UC Irvine Healthcare wants you to know that the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. is preventable, treatable and curable.

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Renowned Cancer Researcher to Speak at Annual Lectureship

Renowned cancer researcher to speak at annual lectureshipPioneering cancer researcher Frank McCormick, president-elect of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), will be the 2012 keynote speaker for UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 14th annual lectureship series. On May 15, McCormick, director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco, will focus on cancer therapy based on the Ras Pathway during the first of two talks for the annual Allen and Lee-Hwa Chao Lectureship in Cancer Research. His second talk, also on May 15, will discuss the future prospects of curing cancer. RSVP by May 4. For more information, contact Jennifer Ivask,, 714.456.8334.

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Transgenic Mouse Facility News

TMFThe Transgenic Mouse Facility (TMF) has acquired a specially engineered mouse embryonic stem cell line (the KH2 line) that is designed for efficient insertion of small RNA coding sequences (e.g., shRNA) into a specific locus in the mouse genome and to allow expression of such sequences in an inducible and reversible fashion.  In collaboration with Cancer Center members Anand Ganesan, M.D., Ph.D., and Bogi Andersen, M.D., the TMF recently completed a proof-of-principle experiment with these cells.  Expression of the Apc gene was knocked down by inserting an shRNA and inducing its expression with doxycycline added to the culture media.  Targeted cells were injected into mouse blastocysts to make chimeric mice.  These mice were treated with doxycycline in their drinking water, which resulted in an easily detectable hair overgrowth phenotype.

Learn More

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Protein in Teardrops Annihilates Harmful Bacteria

Protein in teardrops annihilates harmful bacteriaA disease-fighting protein in our teardrops has been tethered to a tiny transistor, enabling UC Irvine scientists to discover exactly how it destroys dangerous bacteria. It took years for them to assemble the transistor and attach single-molecule teardrop proteins, but scientists now hope the same novel technology can be used to detect cancerous molecules. “If we can detect single molecules associated with cancer, then that means we’d be able to detect it very, very early,” said molecular biologist and chemistry professor Gregory Weiss. The research could prove critical to long-term work aimed at diagnosing cancers and other illnesses in their very early stages.

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 Clinical Trial Spotlight  

UCI 10-41:
Phase Ib/IIa Study of Cabazitaxel plus Bavituximab as Second-line Chemotherapy for Patients with Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer

FruehaufSince 2004, docetaxel (Taxotere®) has become the standard first-line chemotherapy used to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Once patients have failed treatment with docetaxel-based chemotherapy, options are few.  Mitoxantrone has been approved for patients with CRPC for several years, based on its ability to decrease pain and other symptoms.  Mitoxantrone has not been shown to improve survival by any criteria, and has little activity in patients who have had disease progression while on docetaxel. Recently cabazitaxel, a derivative of docetaxel, has been studied in patients with CRPC previously treated with docetaxel. Cabazitaxel provided a statistically-significant improvement in response rate, progression-free and overall survival, when compared with mitoxantrone.  This definitive trial has led to the FDA’s designation of cabazitaxel as the first agent approved for second-line chemotherapy for CRPC.  While cabazitaxel treatment provides a significant improvement in overall survival, its benefits is still quantitatively modest and prolonged, progression-free survival or complete responses are not seen.  Thus there is significant room for improvement in the treatment for CRPC patients in the second-line setting.

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 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 members profiled are examples of the great work being done here, and the dedication and values we possess. To suggest someone to be profiled, please contact Jacqueline Tidball at

Irene Pedersen, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Irene PedersenResearch Focus: Regulation of microRNAs (miRs) and their role in human disease (Cancer), Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) development and viral defense.

Abstract: The recent discovery of microRNAs (miRs) has revolutionized our understanding of gene control. miRs are encoded by endogenous genes and regulate over half of all genes in mammalian cells. They regulate gene expression at the stages of translation and mRNA stability. Already there is evidence that specific miRs play key roles in controlling development, stem cell fates and differentiation, and mutations in human miR genes have been linked to oncogenic and other disease states. An important task is to unveil the functions of individual miRs, determine how the miRs themselves are regulated and elucidate their role in human diseases.

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 Program Highlight  

Systems, Pathways & Targets (SPT)
Department Program Leaders:
Marian Waterman, Ph.D.
John Lowengrub, Ph.D.
marian watermanLowengrub
The Program in Systems, Pathways & Targets comprises a group of cancer researchers who are focused on one or more of the following areas of research in biology: Systems, Organs, Pathways and Targets. The goals for this program are to study the dynamic interactions between cancer cells and their environment (systems and organs) with respect to specific types of cancer (organs) and the signaling pathways relevant to these cancers (pathways). The overarching goal is to identify key proteins or points of crosstalk for therapeutic intervention (targets). 

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 Shared Resource Highlight  

Biostatistics Shared Resource (BSR)
Director: Dan Gillen, Ph.D.
Facility Manager: Michael Phelan, Ph.D.

GillenThe overarching goal of the Biostatistics Shared Resource (BSR) within the CFCCC is to provide statistical and intellectual support to all CFCCC investigators at all phases of scientific projects. The mission of the BSR faculty and staff is to be intimately involved in the conception, design, implementation, analysis, and reporting of research conducted by members of the CFCCC. While a large portion of effort from BSR faculty has been devoted to providing collaboration and service to CFCCC investigators, the BSR also emphasizes and encourages the development of independent research programs among its faculty.

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 Disease Oriented Team (DOT) Highlight  

Colon Cancer DOT (CC-DOT)
Co-Leader: Jason Zell, D.O.
Co-Leader: Robert Edwards, M.D., Ph.D.
Surgical Co-Leader: Michael Stamos, M.D.

Jason ZellEdwardsStamos
The Colon Cancer Disease Oriented Team (CC-DOT) brings together the collective expertise in basic, translational, and clinical research for the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC). Members of the CC-DOT include physicians and scientists from the Schools of Medicine, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Engineering. The Co-Leaders of the CC-DOT will continue to build a translational framework in order to foster collaborative research and facilitate access to institutional resources. Immediate short term goals include increasing patient accrual to (and completion of) on going clinical trials, and bringing together interdisciplinary groups of CRC researchers, increasing new collaborations. Long-term goals include increasing levels of extramural funding in the form of program project and multi-investigator-initiated awards to UC Irvine; and providing mentoring and support to junior CRC-oriented clinical and research faculty. CC-DOT will accomplish clinical and translational research under the auspices of the Chao Family NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Kristen Kelly, M.D. (OIB)
Each year, the Orange County Medical Association conducts a thorough survey of local physicians and rates them on leadership, teaching and mentoring, research, and humanitarian service. For 2012, the association named Dr. Kristen Kelly as one of 297 doctors in 57 specialties to its Physicians of Excellence list of Orange County's leading physicians.

LinskeyMark Linskey, M.D. (Associate Member)

Dr. Mark Linskey was named a 2012 Southern California Super Doctor. The 2012 Southern California Super Doctors report recognizes approximately the top five percent of active doctors in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The selection process relies on peer review, surveying more than 30,000 physicians in Southern California to ensure that the physicians named are the most respected and talented in their fields.

LeeAbraham Lee, D.Engr (OIB)
On February 23, 2012, Dr. Abraham Lee received a Distinguished Engineer Award from the Orange County Engineering Council.

McLaren Christine McLaren, Ph.D.(CPP)

Dr. Christine McLaren is Chair, Program Committee for the International Biometric Conference, IBC 2012, Kobe, Japan.

RandallLeslie Randall, M.D. (SPT)

The Society for Gynecologic Oncology selected Dr. Leslie Randall as one of the 2012 Annual Meeting Program Committee Members. The committee was dedicated in creating a diverse, educational program that met the attendees’ varied interests and practice needs.
 New Faces  

Please Join Us in Welcoming our New Cancer Center Members!

ChiouShiun Kwei Chiou, Ph.D.,
is a Research Scientist and Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine at UC Irvine.  The main focus of Dr. Chiou’s research laboratory in the past six years has been elucidating molecular mechanisms of NSAIDs-induced injury in the gastric mucosa. Dr. Chiou has been appointed as an Associate Member.

DrakeDiane Drake, Ph.D., R.N.,
is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine and volunteer Faculty in the School of Medicine.  As a Nurse Research Scientist, her research focus has been on breast cancer and several publications include “A Longitudinal Study of Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Prediction” and “Evidence based Practice for Fatigue Management in Adults with Cancer: Exercise as an Intervention.” Currently, she is a Principal Investigator of a collaborative study titled, ‘Nurse fatigue study.” Dr. Drake has been appointed as an Associate Member.

Esser-KahnAaron Esser-Khan, Ph.D.,
is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UC Irvine.  Dr. Esser-Kahn’s research interests lie at the intersection of biology, chemistry and materials science.  Dr. Esser-Kahn has been appointed as a Full Member in the Chemical and Structural Biology Research Program.

JungAndre Scott Jung, M.D.,
is a Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor at UC Irvine and a hematologist-oncologist specializing in the diagnosis and medical treatment of cancers of the hepatobiliary system. His research interests include the use of small-molecule inhibitors and targeted therapy for hepatobiliary cancers.  Dr. Jung has been appointed as a Full Member in the Systems, Pathways & Targets Research Program.

KirovIvan Kirov, M.D.,
is an Assistant Clinical Professor with the Department of Pediatrics (hematology/oncology) at UC Irvine.  Dr. Kirov is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist specializing in bone marrow transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) where he is the Director of the Recurrent Cancer Program and Palliative Care Program.  Dr. Kirov is currently investigating effectiveness of the experimental drug Beudawustim in recurrent leukemia patients, as well as studying defibrotide in the treatment of veno-occlusive disease of the liver after bone marrow transplants. Dr. Kirov has been appointed as an Associate Member.

NeudorfSteven Neudorf, M.D.,
is a Health Sciences Clinical Professor with the Department of Pediatrics (hematology/oncology) at UC Irvine.  Dr. Neudorf is a physician as well as Clinical Director of the CHOC Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and has worked with pediatric patients for more than a decade. He is currently working with his associates at CHOC and UC Irvine to improve outcomes following transfusions and to discover new agents and therapies for acute leukemia.  Dr. Neudorf has been appointed as an Associate Member.

NguyenThong H. Nguyen, M.D.,
is a Health Sciences Clinical Professor with the Department of Radiological Sciences.  Dr. Nguyen’s primary research relevant to cancer is radioactive bone cement for vertebral metastases.  Dr. Nguyen has been appointed as an Associate Member.

SheaKenneth J. Shea, Ph.D.,
is a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at UC Irvine.  Dr. Shea’s primary research interest is guided by the hypothesis that general and practical methods for producing useful quantities of synthetic polymer nanoparticles can be developed with antibody-like affinity for specific macromolecules.  Dr. Shea has been appointed as a Full Member in the Chemical and Structural Biology Research Program.

TobiasDouglas J. Tobias, Ph.D.,
is a Professor of Chemistry at UC Irvine.  Members of the voltage-gated class of ion channels have been implicated in the development and progression of various cancers, including small cell lung cancer, breast cancer and neuroblastomas. One of Dr. Tobias’ research projects is concerned with elucidating the structure, function, and pharmacology of a voltage gated proton channel, Hv1, which is comprised of four transmembrane (TM) helices that are homologous to the voltage sensing domains (VSDs) of voltage gated K+ channels.  Dr. Tobias has been appointed as a Full Member in the Chemical and Structural Biology Research Program.

TornoLilibeth R. Torno, M.D.,
is a Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor with the Department of Pediatrics (hematology/oncology) at UC Irvine.   Dr. Torno is the Clinical Director of Outpatient Services and the CHOC ACTS (After the Cancer Treatment Survivorship) Program at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).  She also leads the Ambulatory Care Services of the CHOC Cancer Institute and directs the CHOC Long Term Follow-up Clinic for survivors of childhood cancer.  Dr. Torno has been appointed as an Associate Member.

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