March 2018 — Clinical Trials at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Basic and translational researchers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center work closely with physician-scientists and clinicians to quickly move the most promising research results from their labs into clinical trials. While the conduct of clinical studies provides critical information to researchers that can be taken back to the lab for further study and improvement, they also provide patients with early access to the most cutting-edge and innovative cancer treatments available.
Watch Edward Chu, MD, Deputy Director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Chief of Hematology-Oncology, and Co-Leader of the Hillman Cancer Therapeutics Program, discuss how clinical trials are advancing the way cancer patients are treated.
February 2018 — Pitt and UPMC Launch New Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC)
On February 13, Pitt and UPMC leaders announced plans to establish the new UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC), with much of its activity planned within an eight-story innovation hub—all part of a concerted effort to harness the power of the human immune system to treat and cure a wide range of diseases. As part of the collaboration, UPMC has made a $200 million commitment to ITTC, and the University will transform a century-old building at 5000 Baum Boulevard into a world-class space for labs, offices, startup companies, and industry partners.
Backed by decades of pioneering research at Pitt, UPMC’s initial three-year funding commitment for ITTC seeks to dramatically accelerate the pace at which medical teams can utilize new research. This investment will help pinpoint the most promising advances in immunology that are capable of enhancing human health. The center’s work will initially focus on three major areas: cancer, aging and chronic diseases, and transplantation.
Watch the video and visit the ITTC website to learn more.
January 2018 — Hillman Researcher Aims to Target Colorectal Cancer with a Multifaceted Approach
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide. While common oncogenic mutations in CRC have been identified, attempts to target these pathways have had limited success.
Jian Yu, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Radiation Oncology, is an expert in colon cancer biology and the signaling mechanisms that promote cancer cell growth and drug resistance. She was recently awarded a new R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute to examine the role of the eIF4E protein in colon cancer initiation and progression. Her preliminary data suggests that eIF4E can influence a cancer cell’s ability to grow despite stressful conditions through metabolic adaptation in which it can become “addicted” to certain nutrients. Targeting this metabolic pathway in concert with other pathways that induce cancer cell death and elicit an immune response could improve outcomes for colon cancer patients. Another related area of investigation in her lab is focused on developing methods to protect normal, healthy intestinal stem cells from cancer treatments, which would further improve therapeutic index and reduce side effects.
Watch the video to learn more about Dr. Yu’s research.