Despite the pandemic, 2021 has been a year of innovation and achievement at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our dedicated clinicians, curious researchers, and inspired philanthropists joined forces with patients and families, community groups, and government and industry partners to improve the quality of cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. As the year winds down, we take a moment to reflect on some highlights.
- Spread of Breast Cancer Linked to Newly Discovered RNA Splicing Mechanism
- Cancer Metastasis is Target of New Research Initiative
- 'Invisible' Stem Cells Evade Natural Killer Cells Using Immune 'Off-Switch'
- Pancreatic Cancer Cells Hijack Muscle Protein to Beef Up Their Metabolism
- Novel Structure Found in Tumor Cells May Open Door to New Kinds of Cancer Therapies
- Targeted Therapy for ‘Undruggable’ Lung Cancer Stems from Decades of UCSF Research
- Response to Cancer Immunotherapy May Be Affected by Genes We Carry from Birth
- Examining Leukemia Risks Among Children with Down Syndrome
- Beyond CAR-T: New Frontiers in Living Cell Therapies
- HDFCCC Participating in National Pilot Project to Increase Diversity in Cancer Treatment Trials
- UCSF launches the Baszucki Lymphoma Therapeutics Initiative for (CAR T) therapy for lymphoma
- Smart Cell Therapies for Solid Cancers Ready to Move Towards Clinical Trials
- CureTalks Podcast: Lung Cancer Mutations and Treatment Advances
- New Test Predicts Tumors Most Likely to Respond to Radiation, Chemotherapy
- Newly Approved Prostate Cancer Scan Can Detect Cells that Have Spread to Lymph Nodes
- Living Therapeutics Initiative Will Accelerate Development and Delivery of Revolutionary Treatments
- Current and Future Applications of 3D Printing in Breast Cancer Management
- Food for Thought: Optimizing Nutrition for Cancer Patients
Webinar for Young Women with Early Stage Breast Cancer UCSF experts offer effective ways to navigate treatment and its impact on quality of life, common symptoms, concerns of nutrition, sleep, exercise, and overall wellness.
- Community Advisory Board: Champions for Health Equity
- How Inequities Fueled the COVID-19 Pandemic – And What We Can Do About It
- Study Examines Socioeconomic Status as Predictor of Breast Cancer Risk
- FANS Study at UCSF - study of lung cancer in Asian women who have never smoked (Female Asian Never Smokers)
- Eat, Move, Sleep Study is enrolling individuals who have been diagnosed with prostate, colorectal, or bladder cancer.
- Bringing WISDOM to Breast Cancer Care
- Treating Anal Cancer Precursor Lesions Reduces Cancer Risk for People With HIV
- Controversy Prompts Another Update to NCCN Guidelines for Prostate Cancer
HDFCCC at Conferences
With a theme of “Equity: Every Patient. Every Day. Everywhere,” #ASCO21 provided investigators of all levels a chance to present and review research, confer with colleagues, and return with new ideas.
The #AACR21 theme of "Discovery Science Driving Clinical Breakthroughs" featured HDFCCC presentations on KRAS & RAS, Overcoming Resistance in the Tumor Microenvironment, highlighting UCSF therapeutic expertise.
UCSF presentations at #SABCS21 addressed race and high-risk breast cancer; liquid biopsy for breast cancer detection, predicting DCIS recurrence, and more. Kudos to Hope Rugo, MD, one of the top Twitter influencers amplifying research findings and leading peer discussions.
Awards and Achievements
Cancer Center membership grew substantially in 2021 to almost 500 members who participate in seven multidisciplinary research programs. Cancer Center members received numerous accolades, and many were recognized as national leaders in cancer research. A few highlights:
- Hani Goodarzi, PhD, received a 2022 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science
- Kim Rhoads, MD, MS, MPH, was honored with a 2021 Distinguished Citizens Award from the Commonwealth Club, among many other awards for her work with Umoja Health
- Nola M. Hylton, PhD, was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows
- Allan Balmain, PhD, FRS, was elected a Fellow of the AACR Academy
- Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, PhD, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences
- Atul Butte, MD, PhD was elected a fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology
- Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, FAAN, was named an NCI Champion and Changemaker of Cancer Prevention
- Ivan de Kouchkovsky, MD, Julian Hong, MD, Haolong Li, PhD, and Martin Sjöström, MD, PhD, received 2021 Young Investigator Awards from the Prostate Cancer Foundation
View the full list of our members' awards and honors received in 2021.
Our clinical enterprise continues expanding our reach with partnerships such as the UCSF-John Muir Health Cancer Network. We have launched a new clinical trials matching tool to help affiliate physicians identify potential clinical trials for patients with cancer, and a catchment area dashboard for Cancer Center members to query and visualize population-based cancer incidence and mortality data to improve clinical research. Once again, US News & World Report listed UCSF Medical Center among the top hospitals for cancer care in the United States.
Welcome and Congratulations: Pamela Ling, MD, was appointed director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education; Javid Moslehi, MD, was named chief of the new UCSF Cardio-Oncology & Immunology Program; Ajay Maker, MD, FACS, was named chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology; John de Groot, MD, was named Division Chief of Neuro-Oncology at UCSF.
Gratitude: We extend our appreciation and congratulations to Mark R. Laret, president and chief executive officer of UCSF Health, on his retirement after 21 years of transformational leadership across the UCSF clinical enterprise. Watch this moving tribute about his legacy.
In Memoriam: The UCSF cancer community mourned the loss of several members of the cancer community: Nancy Hellman Bechtle, longtime philanthropist and member of the UCSF Foundation board; Stephen Grand, friend and generous benefactor of the UCSF Stephen and Nancy Grand Multiple Myeloma Translational Initiative, and the Nancy & Stephen Grand Family House; Millie Hughes-Fulford, PhD, a UC San Francisco scientist who flew in June 1991 aboard the first space shuttle mission dedicated to biomedical studies; Katja Brueckner, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology and member of the Cancer Center since 2009; and Dr. Amal Lina Khoury, former UCSF Breast Surgery Fellow. We extend our condolences to all our community who have experienced loss this year.