The Molecular Genetics Program has been continuously approved through the NCI CCSG since the USC Norris first received NCI designation over 35 years ago. This Program has always been distinguished nationally for its strength in DNA replication and DNA repair, with an emphasis on applying discoveries toward cancer chemotherapy. During the project period, Preet Chaudhary joined Michael Lieber as Co-Leader to add depth in translation and oversee a new theme on the molecular genetics of cancers associated with infection by HHV8, including the development of targeted therapies for the treatment of these cancers. The Program has three integrated aims: 1) DNA replication, cell cycle, and cell proliferation in genetic instability; 2) DNA repair and recombination in genetic instability; and 3) viral oncogenesis with an emphasis on HHV8. Lymphoid malignancies are used as a disease model used by Program members for all three aims. Members continue to be highly interactive within and across themes and across program boundaries. The 39 Program members, who come from three schools and 13 departments, have $11.4M in peer-reviewed funding (direct costs), of which 18% is from NCI, 61% from other NIH sources, and 8% from other peer-reviewed funding sources. The Program is highly productive with 439 publications of which 21% are inter-programmatic, 15% intra-programmatic and 25% inter-institutional. Program Leaders organize retreats and mini-symposia several times per year to cross-fertilize research within and across Programs while remaining watchful to ensure a high level of member crosstalk. This has led to high success in securing new P01s that are intra- and inter-programmatic, while also cross-cutting thematically. Examples include renewal of an NCI P01 on understanding human DNA polymerase active sites and development of new chemotherapeutics (Goodman, McKenna, Warshel), and a new NCI P01 on viral oncogenesis by KSHV (HHV8) (Jung, Feng, Gao). Members have been particularly successful in seeking new cancer drug therapies, which has been achieved with the Translational and Clinical Sciences Program.

Public Health Relevance

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center fosters excellence in collaborative multidisciplinary research and translates discoveries into direct benefit for patients, families, and the general public. We serve our diverse community of Los Angeles County with distinction, bringing innovative clinical trials to under-represented minorities, and measurably reduce the burden of cancer in the population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Study Section
Subcommittee I - Career Development (NCI)
Program Officer
Ptak, Krzysztof
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University of Southern California
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
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Peres, Lauren C; Risch, Harvey; Terry, Kathryn L et al. (2018) Racial/ethnic differences in the epidemiology of ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 12 case-control studies. Int J Epidemiol 47:460-472
Sebio, A; Stintzing, S; Heinemann, V et al. (2018) A genetic variant in Rassf1a predicts outcome in mCRC patients treated with cetuximab plus chemotherapy: results from FIRE-3 and JACCRO 05 and 06 trials. Pharmacogenomics J 18:43-48
Guo, Hao; Lee, Changrim; Shah, Mihir et al. (2018) A novel elastin-like polypeptide drug carrier for cyclosporine A improves tear flow in a mouse model of Sjögren's syndrome. J Control Release 292:183-195
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Zhao, Yi; Wu, Kaijin; Wu, Yongfeng et al. (2018) Characterization of Imatinib Resistant CML Leukemic Stem/Initiating Cells and Their Sensitivity to CBP/Catenin Antagonists. Curr Mol Pharmacol 11:113-121
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Park, Sungshim L; Patel, Yesha M; Loo, Lenora W M et al. (2018) Association of internal smoking dose with blood DNA methylation in three racial/ethnic populations. Clin Epigenetics 10:110
Schirripa, Marta; Zhang, Wu; Yang, Dongyun et al. (2018) NOS2 polymorphisms in prediction of benefit from first-line chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer patients. PLoS One 13:e0193640
McDonnell, Kevin J; Chemler, Joseph A; Bartels, Phillip L et al. (2018) A human MUTYH variant linking colonic polyposis to redox degradation of the [4Fe4S]2+ cluster. Nat Chem 10:873-880

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