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May is National Cancer Research Month
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Joins the American Association of Cancer Research to Promote Cancer Research Awareness
Posted Date: 5/1/2014 10:00 AM

May is Cancer Research MonthUCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center joins with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and other cancer centers across the nation in recognizing May as National Cancer Research Month, as declared by the United States Congress in 2007.

The Jonsson Cancer Center is designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute, one of only 41 such centers in the nation. In July 2013 it was named among the top 12 cancer centers nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for the last 13 years.

The theme of this year’s National Cancer Research Month, “Not a Statistic,” honors patients, caregivers and advocates who have benefitted from cancer research. Throughout the month of May and across all our social media (including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest), the Jonsson Cancer Center is proud to join with the AACR to salute the programs, services and research that continue to benefit cancer patients. (Click here for more information on how to connect with us.)

Mission and Current Research

The cancer center’s mission is to maintain the highest standards of excellence in patient care, education, basic science, clinical and translational research and cancer prevention and control.
In honor of National Cancer Research Month, here are some leading-edge research highlights from the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in our quest to find new and more effective therapies for cancer. The cancer center leads the way and/or is among the leaders in clinical trials testing of molecularly targeted therapies, including:

  • Herceptin for breast cancer, developed based on pre-clinical and clinical research conducted by Dr. Dennis Slamon, director of clinical/translational research at Jonsson Cancer Center 
  • Palbociclib, which in current trials has been shown to effectively double progression-free survival in women with advanced breast cancer
  • Avastin in colon and lung cancer, Jonsson Cancer Center scientists did the pre-clinical testing on the angiogenesis inhibitor
  • Gleevec for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumors, Jonsson Cancer Center scientists did the pioneering work linking the BCR-abl gene and its mutant protein to CML
  • Pembrolizumab in metastatic melanoma and lung cancer, an anti-PD1 drug in current clinical trials that is showing very promising patient response rates in two deadly forms of cancer

Other firsts:

  • Rituxan for lymphoma
  • Tarceva and Iressa for lung cancer
  • Zelboraf for metastatic melanoma
  • Sutent for kidney cancer
  • Sprycel for CML and breast cancer
  • Vetabix for colorectal cancer
  • Tykerb for breast cancer

Programs and Services for Patients

Additional highlights include the Jonsson Cancer Center’s work in survivorship and quality of life research in both adults and children. Dr. Patricia Ganz, a nationally renowned expert in the field, directs the cancer center’s UCLA-LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence, which provides clinical care and information on improving survivorship quality-of-life and offers community education on care and leading-edge research for survivors.

The Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, which is part of the Jonsson Cancer Center, helps patients and their families enhance their wellness and address the challenges brought about by cancer and its treatments. The center facilitates partnership between patients and practitioners in the healing process and offers an extensive program of services to assist patients and family members from the point of diagnosis and beyond.

In 2013, the Jonsson Cancer Center was proud to introduce at its Women’s Breast imaging centers, the Athena Breast Health Network. For the first time, the UC Medical Centers have come together to unite California women, physicians, and researchers to better personalize breast cancer prevention, screening and treatment, with the goal to follow patients from screening, to diagnosis, to treatment and ultimately survivorship, and to provide innovative and individualized treatment across the board.

Jonsson Cancer Center leaders have developed a focus in stem cell biology to study cancer stem cells, which are thought to be the cause of several cancers. Dr. Judith Gasson, the cancer center director, was a primary force behind the creation of a stem cell institute on campus, which has a major cancer focus.

Cancer center researchers also have been using nanotechnology to develop novel drug delivery systems, to determine if a cell is malignant by the way it feels and create a localized and controlled drug delivery method that is invisible to the immune system, which could provide newer and more effective treatments for cancer and other diseases. Additionally, cancer center investigators have teamed with researchers from the California Institute of Technology, the UCLA Institute for Molecular Medicine (IMED) and the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in Seattle to develop new technologies for early detection and classification of cancers using nanotechnology, systems biology and molecular imaging.

UCLA and the California Institute of Technology have established Joint Center for Translational Medicine, which will advance experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer. The center will build upon UCLA's strength and international reputation in conducting translational research.

For more information on National Cancer Research Month, visit the American Association for Cancer Research.

About the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has more than 240 researchers and clinicians engaged in disease research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education. One of the nation's largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson center is dedicated to promoting research and translating basic science into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2013, the Jonsson Cancer Center was named among the top 12 cancer centers nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for 14 consecutive years. For more information on the Jonsson Cancer Center, visit our website at


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