University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Video Blogs

June 2015 — UPCI's Pittsburgh Genome Resource Repository (PGRR) Offers a Powerful Tool for Cancer Researchers

Publically available genomic datasets, such as The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), are highly informative and can be used for numerous research purposes including discovery of new biomarkers, validation of new methods, and development of new therapeutic approaches for precision cancer medicine. The Pittsburgh Genome Resource Repository (PGRR) is an invaluable tool that offers UPCI investigators a mechanism for accessing and analyzing TCGA datasets from a virtualized central location using common tools and platforms, providing data management and computing infrastructure to support biomedical investigation using this “big data.”

The PGRR was developed through a collaboration between experts from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Personalized Medicine (IPM), the University of Pittsburgh Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), the University of Pittsburgh Center for Simulation and Modeling (SaM), the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), and UPMC.

Watch Rebecca Jacobson, MD, MS, Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Chief Information Officer of the IPM, and William LaFramboise, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of the UPCI Cancer Genomics Facility, discuss the PGRR and several examples of functional applications in cancer research.

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May 2015 — Autophagy Inhibition as a Novel Treatment Strategy for Pancreatic Cancer

Autophagy is a programmed cell survival mechanism that plays a critical role in pancreatic cancer development and resistance to chemotherapy. In preclinical studies, Herbert Zeh III, MD, Chief of the Division of GI Surgical Oncology, and colleagues have shown that pancreatic cancer is extremely dependent on autophagy for survival, and that drugs that block autophagy increase the sensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to chemotherapy. Dr. Zeh's research team is currently examining the promising clinical use of the autophagy inhibitor hydroxychloroquine, best known for its activity as an anti-malarial drug, in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Watch Dr. Zeh discuss recent advances in these clinical studies.

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April 2015 — Broccoli Sprout Extract Promising for Head and Neck Cancer Prevention

A new study led by UPCI head and neck cancer researchers has shown that broccoli sprout extract protects against oral cancer in mice and proved tolerable in a small group of healthy human volunteers. The promising results of this research, a collaboration between Julie Bauman, MD, MPH and Daniel Johnson, PhD, will be further explored in a human clinical trial, which will recruit participants at high risk for head and neck cancer recurrence later this year. This research is funded through UPCI's Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in head and neck cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

For more information, read the press release and watch Dr. Bauman discuss these findings.

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