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New Building to Spur Advancement in Integrated Cancer Research

June 1, 2009

More information about the opening of the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building is available here. A groundbreaking new research facility at UCSF's Mission Bay campus will help take the University's scientific leadership in cancer to the next level and will foster the collaboration and innovation that are vital to combating one of the world's leading killers. The Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, which opens its doors tomorrow, will enhance the already world-class UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center by doubling the existing laboratory space in buildings exclusively devoted to cancer research. Designed by award-winning architect Rafael Viñoly, the new cancer research building will be home to about 400 researchers when fully occupied. These scientists will focus on fundamental research in cancer across disease types, including such areas as urologic cancer and brain tumors. "This is the manifestation of a vision our outstanding cancer specialists have been working toward for more than a decade," said UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop, MD. "Thanks to the generous support of Helen Diller, her family and many others, UCSF now has an expanded home for its integrated research and clinical cancer program, with the ability to contribute in a significant manner to advancing cancer care throughout the world." UCSF has been a trailblazer in cancer care and research since the Cancer Research Institute was established on campus in 1948. In the 1970s, a discovery by Bishop and fellow cancer researcher Harold Varmus, MD, showed that the disease is caused by normal genes gone awry. This discovery led to a 1989 Nobel Prize for Bishop and Varmus--the University's first. Today, the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only cancer center in Northern California to hold the National Cancer Institute's prestigious "comprehensive" designation. The center ranks first in California and seventh nationwide in National Cancer Institute research grants and is home to pioneers in research into genetic, cellular and immune-system causes and responses to cancer. "The center has established a national reputation for its outstanding research in basic, clinical and population sciences, and for its culture of innovation and multidisciplinary interactions," said Frank McCormick, PhD, director of the cancer center. UCSF has the country's largest brain tumor program, offering state-of-the-art research and treatment for both children and adults. Thanks to the new research building, investigators from the Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC), who work at other locations, will be able to operate under one roof. "This is a monumental moment for us in the brain tumor research community," said Mitchel Berger, MD, BTRC director. "The new building allows us to come together for the first time in our history to collaborate and accelerate our research goals. We can expect to make tremendous progress because of this opportunity to all be together in this phenomenal space."...
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Cancer Center Aims to Advance Medical Care Worldwide

June 1, 2009

Frank McCormick, PhD, director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, is looking forward to new opportunities -- with the opening of a new building dedicated to research -- to combat one of the world's global health threats. McCormick will join colleagues tomorrow ...
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Scientists Begin Moving into Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building

June 1, 2009

More information about the opening of the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building is available here. Neurological scientist Russ Pieper, PhD, had a twinkle in his eye as he smiled broadly and bounded up the stairs from the lobby to the second floor through the brightly colored, light-filled atrium of the newly opened Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building at UCSF Mission Bay. Just the day before, movers had taken boxes from his old space on the Mount Zion campus and placed them in his new digs in the five-story Diller building, which was designed by internationally known, award-winning architect Rafael Viñoly. Pieper had stayed quite late unpacking his entire office. Next up: his lab. "It's a really cool building," Pieper says. "In addition to being a functional lab, it's just a nice looking space. See the curved ceiling? The architects are proud of that; it lets in more light." He points to the window and sweeps his arm up and over the room. Pieper's sheer excitement over the new space is palpable throughout the much-anticipated building at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Planning began in 2000 and more than 300 donors supported the project, which broke ground in April 2006. A landmark $35 million gift from the Helen Diller Family Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund and a $20 million challenge grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies were critical to the completion of the project. "The big change for me isn't so much the lab space," Pieper continues. "It's that all the brain tumor investigators are in one place. Until now, we've been scattered. And not just in one building - every building on Parnassus, Mount Zion, San Francisco General, Mission Center. Pick a building and we're there. Now, for the first time in 25 years, all those people will be in the same place: in this building, on this floor." In addition to the Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC), the new building is home to basic science researchers of the Cancer Research Institute and investigators of population sciences, pediatric oncology and urologic oncology. The 160,000-square-foot Diller building will be home to approximately 410 cancer researchers. "There are some extraordinary people who are going to be in this building," says computational biologist Ajay Jain, PhD. "We've all looked forward to being able to work with them on a daily basis, and we'll finally be able to do that." Closer Collaborations The new tenants extol the Diller building not only for bringing many cancer researchers together, but also for bringing them into closer proximity to other scientists and scholars at the life sciences research and teaching campus at Mission Bay. "QB3, Rock Hall, Genentech Hall, the Gladstone Institute and soon the Cardiovascular Research Building are all sites where there are wonderful people working in other disease areas that are highly relevant to cancer," says biological scientist Allan Balmain, PhD. Because cancer geneticist Davide Ruggero, PhD, sees the potential for a dramatic increase in collaborations within an already thriving scientific community, he is coordinating an opening symposium in late August.
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New Initiative at UCSF Targets Multiple Myeloma

May 28, 2009

A major new initiative at UCSF will focus on the discovery and development of promising new treatments for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood that kills nearly 11,000 Americans every year. The Multiple Myeloma Translational Initiative (MMTI) kicked off in April with a $2 ...
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UCSF to Host World No Tobacco Day on May 29

May 22, 2009

To promote awareness about the health hazards of tobacco, UCSF will bring together its own faculty experts, staff and students to recognize World No Tobacco Day on Friday, May 29. The campus community is invited to attend UCSF's World No Tobacco Day event, from noon ...
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UCSF Creates Fast, Affordable Tool for Finding Gene 'On-Off' Switches

May 18, 2009

UCSF scientists have created a method of quickly identifying large numbers of the genetic material known as short hairpin RNA -- also called shRNA -- that turns genes on and off. The method, which the research team has used to create a library of 22,000 ...