Sanford Burnham Prebys Cancer Center Discoveries

Over the past 30 years (1990-2021), the NCI-designated Sanford Burnham Prebys Cancer Center (initially known as the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation Cancer Center) published over 4,900 peer-reviewed articles and reviews.

These reviews were cited over 500,000 times resulting in an overall h-index of 309. Of these, 31% were published in top tier journals (with impact factor >10).
Here we provide a selection of impactful discoveries published by Cancer Center investigators over the past 30 years.
  • The proteoglycan decorin negatively regulates transforming growth factor β activity Nature
  • Primary structure of NG2, a novel membrane spanning proteoglycan, revealed J Cell Biology
  • Distinctive prenylation of RAB family small GTPases uncovered PNAS
  • Farnesylation of the RAS small GTPase is the critical modification enabling its membrane association and transforming activity PNAS
  • The RXRα retinoid receptor heterodimerizes with thyroid hormone and retinoid acid receptors to potentiate their transcriptional activity Nature
  • 9-cis retinoic acid has a distinctive role in controlling RXRα retinoid receptor activity through homodimerization Nature
  • Anoikis discovered as a form of apoptosis caused by loss of epithelial cell contact with the extracelluar matrix J Cell Biology
  • A new class of retinoids selectively inhibits the transcription factor AP-1 to suppress cancer cell proliferation Nature
  • BAG1 discovered as a novel BCL2-binding protein with anti-apoptotic activity Cell
  • RRAS identified as a key driver of integrin activity Cell
  • Antimetastatic effects of a polymeric form of fibronectin uncovered Nature Medicine
  • Organ-selective targeting in vivo using phage display peptide libraries Nature
  • The microsatellite mutator phenotype in colon cancer is associated with inactivating mutations in the apoptotic BAX gene Science
  • Inhibitors of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) inhibit cell death proteases of the caspase family Nature
  • Anoikis is regulated by caspase-mediated cleavage of the MEKK1 kinase Cell
  • The cell death protease Caspase 9 is regulated by phosphorylation Science
  • Caspase 3 cleaves the DCC receptor to induce apoptosis when the Netrin1 ligand is unavailable Nature
  • Cancer treatment by peptide-targeted drug delivery to the tumor vasculature Science
  • NG2 proteoglycan binding peptides target the tumor vasculature Cancer Research
  • Activation of the stress kinase JNK by the MET receptor and the adaptor protein CRK Oncogene
  • Sialyl Lewis X oligosaccharides promote tumor metastasis but also tumor rejection by natural killer cells EMBO Journal
  • Translocation of the nuclear orphan receptor TR3 to mitochondria causes apoptosis Science
  • Ephrin-A1 and its receptor EphA2 control tumor neovascularization Oncogene
  • Crystal structure reveals the structural basis for caspase inhibition mediated by Inhibitors of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) Cell
  • Tumor suppressor role of the nuclear methyltransferase RIZ1 revealed Genes & Development
  • Structure of the Arp2/3 complex at actin filament branch junctions solved Science
  • Peptides identified that target tumor lymphatic vessels in mice PNAS
  • The crystal structure of talin bound to β3 integrin sheds light on integrin-cytoskeleton linkage Molecular Cell
  • Progressive vascular changes in squamous cell carcinoma revealed by differentially homing peptides Cancer Cell
  • Small molecules interfering with the activity of the XIAP caspase inhibitor suppress tumor growth and drug resistance Cancer Cell
  • EphB4 in cancer cells promotes tumor growth by interacting with vascular ephrin-B2 PNAS
  • Crystal structure of Vinculin reveals its mechanism of activation at sites of cell adhesion Nature
  • Ephrin-B-EphB signaling regulates clathrin-mediated endocytosis Nature Cell Biology
  • ATM-dependent phosphorylation of the ATF2 transcription factor is required for the DNA damage response Molecular Cell
  • Phosphorylation of mTOR at Ser2448 is mediated by p70 S6 kinase J Biol Chem
  • Age-dependent accumulation of DNA hypomethylation precedes DNA copy number alterations in gastrointestinal tumors Cancer Cell
  • Molecular structure of vinculin bound to actin filaments revealed Molecular Cell
  • The EphB4 receptor suppresses breast cancer cell tumorigenicity through an ABL-CRK pathway Nature Cell Biology
  • The antiapoptotic proteins BCL2 and BCL-XL inhibit proinflammatory caspase-1 by inhibiting the NALP1 inflammasome Cell
  • Biomimetic nanoparticles identified that home to tumors and amplify their own tumor homing capacity PNAS
  • Rewired ERK and JNK signaling pathways support melanoma malignancy Cancer Cell
  • A peptide derived from the Nur77 nuclear receptor converts BCL-2 in cancer cells from an antiapoptotic to a proapoptotic protein Cancer Cell
  • Inhibition of the ubiquitin ligase Siah2 by a small peptide attenuates melanoma metastasis PNAS
  • Structural reconstruction by electron tomography reveals how the Arp2/3 complex triggers actin filament branching J Cell Biol
  • Structural insight obtained into how FAS receptor clustering activates the extrinsic apoptotic pathway Nature
  • The tissue-penetrating iRGD peptide delivers compounds and nanoparticles into tumors Cancer Cell
  • The signaling adaptor TKS5 enables generation of reactive oxygen species that are necessary for invadopodia formation Science Signaling
  • COX-2-independent anticancer effects of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that binds to the RXRα retinoid receptor Cancer Cell
  • The Siah2 ubiquitin ligase is required for neuroendocrine prostate cancer development Cancer Cell
  • Co-administered tumor penetrating iRGD peptide enhances cancer drug efficacy and therapeutic index Science
  • Identification of regulators of invadopodia and cancer cell invasion Science Signaling
  • The signaling adaptor p62 is required for mTORC1 activation and tumor nutrient sensing Molecular Cell
  • Subcellular localization of the ATF2 transcription factor defines its oncogenic versus tumor suppressor activity Cell
  • Mouse model developed to study the biology and therapeutic responsiveness of MYC-driven medulloblastoma Cancer Cell
  • The small GTPase RRAS regulates the integrity and functionality of tumor blood vessels Cancer Cell
  • Androgen receptor regulation by the Siah2 ubiquitin ligase is important for castration-resistant prostate cancer development Cancer Cell
  • Short peptides that covalently bind and inhibit the ubiquitin ligase Siah2 identified Chem Biol
  • PKCζ kinase deficiency reprograms cancer cell metabolism to overcome nutrient stress Cell
  • The PDK1 kinase promotes development and metastasis of BRAF and PTEN mutant melanomas Oncogene
  • Metabolic reprogramming of stromal fibroblasts with loss of the p62 signaling adaptor promotes inflammation and tumorigenesis Cancer Cell
  • A small molecule inhibitor of the ULK1 autophagy kinase synergizes with mTOR inhibitors to kill tumor cells Molecular Cell
  • Regulation of glutamine carrier proteins by the ubiquitin ligase RNF5 determines breast cancer response to paclitaxel Cancer Cell
  • A small molecule that disrupts the eIF4F translation initiation complex inhibits therapy-resistant melanoma Cancer Research
  • The signaling adaptor p62 inhibits hepatic stellate cell activity, fibrosis and liver cancer by binding to the vitamin D receptor Cancer Cell
  • The adhesion molecule PSGL1 promotes T cell exhaustion during viral infection and in tumors Immunity
  • Inhibitors of histone deacetylase and PI3 kinase cooperate to inhibit the growth of MYC-driven medulloblastoma Cancer Cell
  • Tetramerization of the N-terminally cleaved RXRα nuclear receptor activates PI3-kinase signaling Nature Communications
  • The signaling adaptor p62 targets nuclear transcription factors to control metabolic reprogramming in the tumor microenvironment Cell Metabolism
  • The signaling adaptor p62 expressed in adipocytes suppresses tumorigenesis by opposite regulation of metabolism in adipose tissue and tumor cells Cancer Cell
  • Unexpected role revealed for the nuclear pore complex protein Nup210 in the control of CD4+ T cell homeostasis Nature Immunology
  • Phosphatidylinositol-5-phosphate 4-kinases regulate cellular lipid metabolism by facilitating autophagy Molecular Cell
  • Activation of protein arginine methyltransferase 5 by the adaptor protein SHARPIN controls melanoma growth J Clinical Investigation
  • The ubiquitin ligase RNF5 controls anti-tumor immunity and melanoma growth by altering intestinal microbiota composition Nature Communications
  • Inhibition of MAPK signaling limits expression of asparagine synthetase sensitizing solid tumors to asparagine restriction Nature Cell Biology
  • EGFR-Pak signaling selectively regulates glutamine deprivation-induced macropinocytosis Dev Cell
  • Inhibition of protein arginine methyltransferase 5 activity enhances anti-tumor immune responses in melanoma Science Translational Medicine
  • The sodium-hydrogen exchanger NHE7 prevents buildup of cytosolic acid thus improving pancreatic cancer cell fitness Cancer Discovery
  • The phosphatase subunit PPP1R1B promotes pancreatic cancer invasiveness and metastasis by downregulating the tumor suppressor p53 Gastroenterology
  • The F-box protein FBX044 represses transcription of DNA repetitive elements in cancer cells and its inhibition enhances immunotherapy response Cell
  • Macropinocytosis in cancer-associated fibroblasts supports tumor and stromal cell fitness Cancer Discovery
  • Inhibition of nuclear pore complex formation selectively induces cancer cell death Cancer Discovery