Learn more about the latest news and accomplishments from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at the links below.
7/29/2022 – Novasenta, a UPMC Enterprises portfolio company founded by Robert Ferris, MD, PhD, director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and Greg Delgoffe, PhD, and Dario Vignali, PhD, leading researchers from Hillman, announced today the completion of a $40M Series A financing. Novasenta discovers and validates novel targets to develop cancer therapies.
Cells Become Zombies When the Ends of Their Chromosomes are Damaged – A Tactic Both Helpful and Harmful for Health
7/21/2022 – UPMC Hillman Cancer Center researchers Patricia Opresko, PhD, and Ryan Barnes, PhD, found that damage to the ends of chromosomes can create “zombie cells” that are still alive but can’t function, according to their recently published study in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.
6/30/2022 – A study led by a team of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Genome Stability Program researchers has uncovered a mechanism by which senescent, or “zombie,” cells develop. These findings could eventually point to new therapeutics that promote healthy aging or combat cancer.
6/10/2022 – Heath D. Skinner, MD, PhD, has been appointed professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
6/8/2022 – UPMC Hillman Cancer Center immunologist Tullia C. Bruno, PhD, has been presented with the Sy Holzer Endowed Immunotherapy Research Fund Award to advance innovative research in cancer.
6/6/2022 – UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh have been designated as Comprehensive Radiopharmaceutical Therapy Centers of Excellence by the Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), which recognizes facilities that offer the latest technology, cutting-edge research, Food and Drug Administration-approved radiopharmaceutical therapies and the best health care possible in this field of medicine.
6/7/2022 – UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, in partnership with P3R, announced that they will host the first-ever Rush to Crush Cancer, a bike ride with the goal of raising money for cancer research, in Spring 2023.
6/2/2022 – Yael Schenker, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center member, professor in the School of Medicine and director of the Palliative Research Center, has been selected for the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) 2022-2023 class of fellows.
5/20/2022 – Adrian V. Lee, PhD, breast cancer researcher at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will join the Susan G. Komen Scientific Advisory Board to help lead Komen’s overall research strategy and investments. The Komen organization also added Steffi Oesterreich, PhD, also a UPMC Hillman breast cancer researcher, scientific collaborator and co-director of the Women’s Cancer Research Center, as a Komen Scholar.
4/19/2022 – New studies co-led by UPMC Hillman Cancer Center member Steffi Oesterreich, PhD, uncover mechanisms for a mutated gene found in more than 20 – 30% of breast cancer recurrences that may open new targets for treatments.
4/19/2022 – New study by UPMC Hillman Cancer Center member Dario A.A. Vignali, PhD, pinpoints how LAG3 modulates T cell activity, providing important insights for cancer therapies.
4/6/2022 – UPMC Hillman Cancer Center member Yael Schenker, MD, reflects on the difference between palliative care and hospice.
3/28/2022 – Tullia C. Bruno, PhD, a UPMC Hillman Cancer Center immunologist and assistant professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been selected to receive scientific research funding by the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research.
Leading Cancer Researcher with National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Joins UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
3/24/2022 – Charles Edward Geyer, Jr., MD, FACP, will join UPMC Hillman Cancer Center as co-director of its National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network efforts.
3/21/2022 – UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Hassane Zarour and Diwaker Davar found found that melanoma patients’ gut bacterial communities, which differ depending on a patient’s geographical region, are associated with favorable or unfavorable responses to cancer immunotherapy.
3/14/2022 – A new study co-led by UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Umamaheswar Duvvuri, MD, PhD, suggests that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine inhibits pathways that drive resistance to the chemotherapy agent cisplatin in head and neck cancers and restores tumor-killing effects of cisplatin in animal models.
3/4/2022 – Researchers, including UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Dr. Yang Liu, associate professor of medicine and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, have developed a new fluorescent label that gives a clearer picture of how DNA architecture is disrupted in cancer cells. The findings could improve cancer diagnoses for patients and classification of future cancer risk.
2/7/2022 – A new study led by UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Heidi Donovan, PhD, RN, professor of health and community systems in Pitt’s School of Nursing and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive services in the School of Medicine, developed an online symptom management tool that could help women with ovarian cancer better manage complex symptoms.
Yufei Huang, PhD, joins UPMC Hillman Cancer Center as Leader for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research. Dr. Huang also serves as Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
They see around 12,000 patients combined a month, many underserved. It’s challenging but rewarding work for the folks at Pittsburgh’s UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Birmingham Free Clinic. Dr. Linda Robertson (Lyn), Patricia Andres-Sanmartin (Patty), and Lilcelia Williams (CeCe) are part of a network connecting underserved patients with cancer screenings, clinical trials, and other programs to support their health journeys.
A new collaboration among UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and New Jersey-based biotechnology company Avalon GloboCare Corp. aims to develop new cancer immunotherapy approaches and streamline manufacturing processes to bring these powerful treatments to cancer patients within days instead of weeks.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Joins Other NCI-Designated Cancer Centers Urging Action to Get Cancer-Preventing HPV Vaccination Back on Track
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers and partner organizations today issued a joint statement urging the nation’s physicians, parents and young adults to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination back on track.
The American Cancer Society recently published a “TheoryLab” podcast episode featuring three researchers from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, including Kathy Shair, PhD, Sarah Hengel, PhD, and Yuri Bunimovich, MD, PhD. Listen to learn how these researchers are revolutionizing cancer care from their respective labs.
Taofeek K. Owonikoko, M.D., Ph.D., will join the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh as chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology. Owonikoko, a physician-scientist board-certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine, also will serve as associate director for translational research and co-leader of the Cancer Therapeutics Program at Hillman. He will hold the Stanley M. Marks – OHA Endowed Chair in Hematology/Oncology Leadership and will begin his appointment on July 1, 2021.
Oncologists faced with treating older women with breast cancer often must decide if the treatment may be more detrimental than the cancer. A study published today in JAMA Network Open by researchers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine sheds new light on this choice and suggests the rate of cancer recurrence or survival may be no different in treated vs. untreated elderly patients diagnosed in the early stages of the cancer diagnosed most commonly in women.
UPMC and University of Pittsburgh physician leaders recently shared new data on how certain UPMC patients with weak immune systems have responded to COVID-19 vaccination and offered clinical recommendations in light of these findings. They also provided an update on UPMC’s COVID-19 vaccination and monoclonal antibody treatments in the communities we serve.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is pleased to welcome Nadine Hempel, Ph.D., to the faculty as a member of the cancer biology program. Hempel will serve as an associate professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Pitt researchers at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Magee Womens Research Institute (MWRI) were awarded more than $2.5 million by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support ovarian cancer research.
A paper published today in Nature shows how chemicals in the areas surrounding tumors—known as the tumor microenvironment—subvert the immune system and enable cancer to evade attack. These findings suggest that an existing drug could boost cancer immunotherapy.
Researchers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) demonstrate that changing the gut microbiome can transform patients with advanced melanoma who never responded to immunotherapy—which has a failure rate of 40% for this type of cancer—into patients who do.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center physician-scientist Leisha A. Emens, M.D., Ph.D., has been presented with the Sy Holzer Endowed Immunotherapy Research Fund Award to advance innovative research in cancer. Internationally recognized for her work in breast cancer immunotherapy, Emens is co-leader of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program and Director of Translational Immunotherapy for the Women’s Cancer Research Center at UPMC Hillman.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is pleased to welcome Jing Hong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., to the faculty as a member of the cancer immunology and immunotherapy program. Wang will also be appointed as a professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center today announced that Yen-Michael Hsu, M.D., Ph.D., will serve as the new as Director of the Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Therapeutics Laboratory at (IMCPL). He is also appointed as associate professor of hematology and oncology in the Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He has been awarded a Hillman Fellowship for Innovative Cancer Research to support his research.
Hillman virologist Patrick Moore, MD, MPH, distinguished professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was a part of the small committee of scientists tasked by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewing the data provided by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which has developed a COVID-19 vaccine.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center received an “exceptional” score, the highest achievable rating, and its largest grant to date when it was recently renewed as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)- designated Comprehensive Cancer Center for another five-year period.
The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion for low-income people appears to lead to earlier diagnosis of colon cancer, enhanced access to care and improved surgical care for patients with the disease, according to research by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
UPMC is one of just 21 hospital systems in the country and the only system in Pennsylvania selected to work with the American Cancer Society (ACS) on a community program to promote health equity and equal access to cancer screenings and education with a specific focus on breast cancer.
Through a novel combination of immunotherapy and small molecule drugs, an ongoing collaboration between scientists in Pittsburgh and China is developing the future of cancer treatments.
A new study led by researchers at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh published in Nature Communications shows for the first time how certain drugs used to treat HIV and cancer drive the cellular aging process, at least in part, by blocking telomeres – the protective tips on the end of our chromosomes – from replenishing themselves.
The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Celebration of Hope was held virtually this year due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hillman investigator, Greg Delgoffe, PhD, associate professor of immunology at Pitt, was recognized this month with the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Lloyd J. Old STAR Program grant in Cancer Immunology.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Radiation Oncologists Named Fellows of the American Society for Radiation Oncology
Two UPMC Hillman Cancer Center radiation oncologists have been designated Fellows of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (FASTRO), the world’s largest society for radiation oncology professionals.
Research led by Dario Vignali and published in Nature Immunology found a protein that plays an important role in long-term immune response against tumors.
Hillman researcher Bennett Van Houten, PhD has been featured on the NIEHS Stories of Success Website.
A less intense treatment for human papillomavirus positive (HPV+) throat cancer could provide as much benefit as standard higher-dose radiation and chemotherapy while preserving a patient’s throat function, and with potentially less toxicities, according to researchers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Yale Cancer Center.