Cancer Institute Event Presents Over 40 Studies

Can we better gauge the prognosis for breast cancer patients? How do ovarian cancer cells resist chemotherapy? Is there a better way to treat pediatric brain tumors?

These are just a few of the questions posed by more than 40 studies presented May 22 at the Sixth Annual Research Poster Presentation Day, sponsored by the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. The event in Harvey Morse Auditorium showcased the original, important work being done by Cedars-Sinai cancer researchers.

Postdoctoral scientist David Habiel, PhD, for instance, presented a poster exploring why patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lethal lung disease, may have a higher prevalence of lung cancer. He suspects that their immune systems do not effectively clear aging cells. Working with Cory Hogaboam, PhD, research scientist in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and professor of medicine, he said, "We're hoping to find a process that we can target to prevent the development of cancer."

Besides discussing his own work, Habiel planned to save time to browse other posters at the event. "We're always looking for collaborators," he explained.

In another row, Jie-Fu Chen, PhD, another postdoctoral scientist, presented a poster on prostate cancer. His study, from the laboratory of Edwin Posadas, MD, medical director of the Urologic Oncology Program and associate professor of medicine, looked at how to classify circulating tumor cells by the size of their nuclei. The study yielded data suggesting that one cell type may be associated with metastatic lesions in the visceral organs and might serve as a potential biomarker for patients at risk for this aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Chen's study, for which he was senior author, won the PHASE ONE Foundation Young Investigator Award for Cancer Translation, one of two awards presented at the event.

The other award, the Spielberg Young Investigator Award for Cancer Biology, went to graduate student Alicia Farin. She was the lead author for a study of the p53 gene, a tumor suppressor that is often mutated in lung cancer. Farin worked with Barry R. Stripp, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Lung Stem Cell Research Program, which spans the Women's Guild Lung Institute and the Regenerative Medicine Institute.

The awardees, chosen by a committee of faculty with expertise in basic and clinical research, each will receive a certificate, a $250 prize and an invitation to present at the 2015 SOCCI Collaborations in Cancer Research Retreat on July 18.

Research Associate II Rachelle Levy, left and Project Scientist Rameshwar Patil, PhD, review a poster at the event in Harvey Morse Auditorium.

Visitors browse the boards at the Sixth Annual Research Poster Presentation Day, sponsored by the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.