Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program

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Dr. Richard Finn

Director

Richard Finn, M.D.

Contact via email

Director

Edward Garon, M.D..

Contact via email


Overview

The Signal Transduction and Therapeutics (STT) research program  has 34 members drawn from four UCLA schools, representing 16 departments. The STT research program brings together basic scientists and clinicians to exchange information to further enhance the development of cancer therapies targeting growth signaling pathways, including signal transduction, cell cycle, and metabolism.

The STT research program is focused on robust translational studies that have repeatedly delivered practice-changing high impact research. Using commercially available compounds, there is an increased effort to harness STT research program discovery efforts to generate “in-house” compounds for clinical development. Additionally, the STT research program is leveraging its broad scientific base to link laboratory scientists with clinical investigators to help translate early observations into clinical opportunities and investigator-initiated studies. These include a special focus on malignancies with a high mortality in the Los Angeles County catchment area including breast, lung, and liver cancers.


Goals

The primary goal of the STT research program is to bring together basic scientists and clinicians to exchange information to further enhance the development of cancer therapies using signal transduction inhibitors. The research program is leveraging its broad scientific base to link laboratory scientists with clinical investigators to help translate early observations into clinical opportunities and investigator initiated studies with an increased effort on using UCLA-generated reagents to accomplish this.

The STT research program’s three specific aims are to:

  1. Develop and translate new therapies that target growth signaling pathways, including signal transduction, cell cycle, and metabolic pathways altered in cancer
  2. Facilitate interactions between bench and clinical research faculty to enhance the clinical translation of JCCC science
  3. Develop new therapeutics that improve the outcomes for patients living with cancer diagnoses with an increased prevalence and mortality in the Los Angeles County catchment area

Meetings and seminars

  • Participation in the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center seminar series that features invited outside and local faculty
  • Quarterly meetings for new research program members to present their research
  • Quarterly seminars given by members of the research program and by invited speakers from outside institutions
  • Biannual mini-symposia on signal transduction and cancer therapeutics topics

Leadership

Director Dr. Richard Finn is a Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. He has extensive experience in the use of pre-clinical models to guide clinical development. He currently splits his time between patient care and laboratory and clinical research. Finn is an internationally recognized leader in liver cancer and breast cancer research, having brought several clinical studies forward from laboratory-generated ideas. While working with Dr. Dennis Slamon in the Translational Oncology in Research Laboratory (TORL), he was directly involved in the studies that led to the development and global approval of CDK 4/6 inhibitors in breast cancer. He is the immediate past president of the International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA). He is a senior editor at Clinical Cancer Research, associate editor at Breast Cancer Research, on the editorial board of the Journal of Hepatology, and an ad hoc reviewer for The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, and Lancet Oncology.

Director Dr. Edward Garon focuses on correlative research in addition to clinical investigation. A major focus of his research is specimen banking from patients in the clinic. By using data generated from patients in the clinic who consent to correlative research projects, he uses the clinic as the main source of discovery to inform the clinical trials that he conducts. This research has led to first and last author clinical and biomarker manuscripts in high impact clinical journals such as New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet, as well as contributions to many high profile institutional and collaborative publications in high impact scientific journals. Although the specimen banking is of benefit across the institution, this type of research benefits greatly from interaction with outside institutions to avoid the biases seen at a single center. As a result, Garon’s research is frequently collaborative with outside centers. He has served on several committees with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where he is currently on the cancer research committee. He is on the immunotherapy guideline committee for the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer, the Scientific Advisory Board of advocacy group Lungevity, and has served on committees for NIH sponsored clinical trial consortiums and CTEP.


Upcoming events

The following list is for upcoming events and seminars of notable interest to the Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program and its members. This calendar is updated automatically.

For a list of all upcoming JCCC events (including other research programs, patients and survivors, and the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation), please visit the Events Calendar.

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center 2nd Annual All Center Retreat

 

We are excited to announce the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 2nd Annual All Center Retreat! The all-day event will take place at the Luskin Conference Center on May 5, 2022.

Online registration has closed. But there's still time! You can register via email until April 28. Please contact Juliana Ryan at JKRyan@mednet.ucla.edu.

All attendees are subject to Los Angeles County Health Department and UCLA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Requirements for entrance to the Retreat include providing proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event at check-in, completion of the UCLA Daily Symptom Monitoring Survey, and adherence to all masking guidelines (currently universal masking required for all indoor events regardless of vaccination status). For all the current campus COVID-19 guidelines, please visit UCLA's COVID-19 website.

We look forward to seeing you at the Retreat!


Agenda

7:00AM

Registration, Lobby & Exhibit Hall Open
Breakfast served in Centennial Hall Pre-Function Area

8:00AM

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Michael Teitell, MD, PhD
Professor & Latta Endowed Chair in Pathology
Director, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive
President, UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation

Johnese Spisso, RN, MPA
President, UCLA Health
CEO, UCLA Hospital System
Associate Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences

Steven M. Dubinett, MD
Interim Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, UCLA


Session I

8:15AM

New Technologies for the Study & Treatment of Cancer

Robert Prins, PhD (Session Moderator)
Professor, Neurosurgery

"Using an Organoid Transplantation Model of Glioblastoma to Characterize Cell Fate"
Aparna Bhaduri, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biological Chemistry

"Multidimensional Characterization of the Tumor Immune Microenvironment"
Willy Hugo, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine, Dermatology

"Synthetic IL9R Signaling for Adoptive T Cell Therapy of Cancer"
Anusha Kalbasi, MD
Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology

"UCLA Molecular Radio-Theranostic Program: From Clinical Research to the Outpatient Therapy Center"
Jeremie Calais, MD
Associate Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology\

9:25AM

Poster Viewing & Networking


Session II

9:50AM

Advancing Equity Across the JCCC: Workforce, Research, Clinical Care and Community Engagement Initiatives

"Cancer Disparities in Los Angeles: Gaps, Challenges and Opportunities" and "Increasing Enrollment of Diverse Populations in JCCC Clinical Trials"
Beth Glenn, PhD (Session Moderator)
Professor, Health Policy and Management
Fielding School of Public Health
Co-Director, Disparities, Community Outreach and Engagement
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Director, UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity

"Why Workforce Diversity is Important: Examples of Ongoing Efforts at UCLA Health"
Medell Briggs-Malonson, MD, MPH, MSHS
Chief, Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
UCLA Health
Associate Clinical Professor, Emergency Medicine

"Reducing Disparities in Lung Cancer Screening in Los Angeles"

Ashley Prosper, MD
Assistant Professor, Radiological Sciences
Fielding School of Public Health

"Enhancing Health Equity through Community Engagement"
Alison Herrmann, PhD
Research Scientist, Health Policy and Management
Fielding School of Public Health

11:00AM

Keynote Speaker

"Factors Influencing Cancer Disparities: Toward Achieving Cancer Health Equity"
John D. Carpten, PhD
Professor & Chair
Department of Translational GenomicsRoyce & Mary Trotter Chair in Cancer Research
Professor, Department of Urology
Associate Director of Basic Sciences
Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California

12:00PM

Lunch & Networking
Luskin Center Terrace


Session III

1:00PM

Therapeutic Applications & Agents

Michael E. Jung, PhD (Session Moderator)
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry

"Development of an Androgen Receptor Degrader Targeting the N-Terminus"
Matthew Rettig, MD
Professor, Medicine and Urology

"UCLA Neuro-Oncology Drug Discovery and Development Program"
Diana Marquez-Garban, MD
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology-Oncology

"Development of New Antiestrogens for Breast Cancer Treatment in Combination with Immunotherapy"
David Nathanson, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology

2:10PM

Poster Viewing & Networking


Session IV

2:40PM

Enabling Technologies & Resources

Manish Butte, MD, PhD (Session Moderator)
Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Allergy/Immunology

"Using Avian CAM Models to Generate New PDXs to Study Cancer Metastasis and Therapeutics"
Lily Wu, MD, PhD
Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology\

"Enabling Data-Driven Research and AI Using UCLA’s Electronic Health Records"
Alex Bui, PhD
Professor, Radiological Sciences

"How Can the Cancer Registry Help You in Conducting Your Research?"
Patricia A. Ganz, MD
Professor, Health Policy & Management
Fielding School of Public Health
David Geffen School of Medicine

"Technologies of Single Cell and Spatial Transcriptomics Available at the Cancer Center’s Genomics Shared Resource"
Xinmin Li, PhD
Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

3:50PM

Closing Remarks

Michael Teitell, MD, PhD
Professor & Latta Endowed Chair in Pathology
Director, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive
President, UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation

4:15PM

Post-Retreat Reception
Appetizers and Drinks in Centennial Hall Pre-Function Area

5:00PM

Retreat Concludes

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