Cancer Center Open House Showcases SBP Scientists

| Written by Helen Hwang
Cancer Center Open House November 2017

SBP’s Cancer Center Open House on November 9, 2017 enlightened visitors from the community on the topic of “The Science Behind Personalized Cancer Medicine,” as four diverse scientific labs showcased posters and demonstrated how we are  translating biomedical research into innovative treatments for patients.


Garth Powis, D.Phl.., head of the National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center at SBP, said the Open House “provides a service to those who have been touched by cancer in some way. By sharing our latest research, we want to be able to show that there is hope, that we are making advances, and at this Open House in particular, share how new technologies are changing the way we conduct our research, and eventually bring our discoveries to cancer patients.”


One of the labs featured was SBP President, Kristiina Vuori, Ph.D., a respected scientist with wide-ranging research that includes brain cancer and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Ben Finlay, Ph.D., emphasized how important “collaboration was at SBP” and explained how researchers work closely with Scripps Blood and Marrow Transplant Program to collect patient tumor samples to find a cure for AML.


Robert Wechsler-Reya, Ph.D., who discussed personalized cancer care for children with brain tumors. As a world-renowned expert on medulloblastoma, Dr. Wechsler-Reya also works closely with doctors at Rady Children’s Hospital to discuss individual pediatric tumor cases, in addition to his role as SBP researcher.


Michael Jackson, Ph.D., senior vice president, led the tour of the Prebys Center for Drug Discovery where he demonstrated the high-speed drug screening robot arm in action, showing how state-of-the-art technology is a vital tool in testing new drugs to find cancer cures.


“Decoding tumor response at the single-cell level” was the topic featured in the laboratory of Peter Adams, Ph.D. Simply put, if you treat a tumor and kill 99 percent of the cancer cells, but 1 cell left contains a mutation that can cause the tumor to grow again, the cancer treatment isn’t effective for the patient. By better understanding each cell, science can translate into robust treatments. 


The public event, which attracted more than 140 people, included a wide array of visitors from a busload of high school biology students from Monte Vista High School to Board Trustees. For some people, it was the first time they visited our Institute to learn about our pioneering research while others took the opportunity to revisit old friends and a scientific organization they support with great passion.


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Check out the Facebook album of the Cancer Center Open House. 


The next Cancer Center Open Houses will be held on Thursday, June 14, 2018 and Thursday, November 8, 2018. Please check back for more details and registrations.


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