University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Homepage

News Highlights

December 18, 2015

Symposium on clinical and experimental metallodrugs in medicine: cancer chemotherapy

For more photos from this event:


News Highlights

November 6, 2015

Excellence in Research Award Recipients

Smartphone App
Earl Stoner, President of the Friends of the UH Cancer Center

The Friends of the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center announced winners of its quarterly Excellence in Research Award in October 2015. Each recipient was awarded $4,500 of which more than 80 percent will go back into research.

Michele Carbone, MD, PhD, director of the UH Cancer Center's Thoracic Oncology Program was a recipient for his study, Minimal asbestos exposure in germline BAP1 heterozygous mice is associated with deregulated inflammatory response and increased risk of mesothelioma.

Smartphone App
Dr. Michele Carbone

The study published in Oncogene outlines the discovery of BAP1 as the first gene that predisposes people to mesothelioma and other cancers. The discovery will potentially allow those who are at high risk for the disease to be screened for the genetic susceptibility earlier leading to improved prognosis. Carbone and his colleagues are now following more than forty United States families affected by BAP1 mutations.

"I am very grateful to the Friends of the Cancer Center for providing this award that will be used to support the cost of testing family members for BAP1 mutations," said Dr. Carbone.

James Turkson, PhD, UH Cancer Center's chief academic lead and director of the Natural Products and Experimental Therapeutics Program was also an award recipient for his study, Hydroxamic acid and benzoic acid-based Stat3 inhibitors suppress human glioma and breast cancer phenotypes in vitro and in vivo.

Smartphone App
Dr. James Turkson

Dr. Turkson and his research team discovered two chemical compounds that effectively stop the growth of brain cancer cells and breast tumors, opening the way for potential new drugs to be developed. In the study published in the journal Cancer Research, Turkson and collaborators examined compounds that inhibit Stat3, a protein implicated in a variety of cancers that include brain and breast cancers.

"It is a great honor to receive this award from the Friends. In addition to our gratitude, this support will contribute to enhancing our research activities in making discoveries that help prevent and treat cancer patients. The Friends have always been a strong support for the Cancer Center and we are fortunate to have them," said Dr. Turkson.

The Excellence in Research Award sponsored by the Friends of the UH Cancer Center, recognizes significant scientific publications on studies conducted by Cancer Center researchers. A panel of experts reviews the award submissions. The winners are selected based on how well the research advances the particular field of study, how it supports the overall mission of the UH Cancer Center, and the impact factor of the journal in which the paper was published. Impact factor is defined as a measure of the average number of times recent articles published in a particular journal are cited.


News Highlights

December 3, 2015

Movember Men's Health Month

2015 Movember
Front row from left to right (Cathy Zhang, Claude Kutaka, Kornelia Szauter, Namrata Gurung, Amber Chang, Janet Iraha) Top row from left to right (Michelle Matter, Corie Fulgencio-Arre, Loraine Strattford, Joe Ramos, Charles Rosser, Hideki Furuya, Ian Pagano, Russel Fisher)

The University of Hawai'i at Kakaako Campus Movember teams raised a total of more than $1,300 for men's health issues. The team members were from the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center and the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

"The Cancer Center has taken an active role in the Movember cause to improve men's health and fight prostate and testicular cancer for the last several years. It has been a great pleasure to captain our team once again and to join in the fun for a serious cause," said Dr. Joe Ramos, PhD, a professor and the director of the Cancer Biology Program at the UH Cancer Center.

Participants raised funds in support of The Movember Foundation, the leading global organization committed to changing the face of men's health. The foundation challenges men to grow moustaches during the month of November to spark conversations and raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.

"This past month I received many comments about my mustache that were both good and bad, and questions about why I decided to grow it out. I enjoyed talking with people about the Movember movement, many of whom had a family member affected by prostate cancer. As future healthcare providers, we will be educating our patients about such issues as prostate cancer and Movember is a fun way to get the word out," said Harry Wynn-Williams, a second year medical student at JABSOM.

2015 Movember
Rachel Dang, Erica Lee, Teresa Choe, Andrew Kinimaka, Tyler Ellis,
Harry Wynn-Williams, James Linden, Francis Sapigao, Subodh Mishra,Trent Tamate

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among all men in Hawai'i. There are about 800 men diagnosed with the disease in the state each year according to Hawai'i Cancer Facts and Figures. "The enthusiasm our Cancer Center team members and donors bring to Movember and our common goal to eliminate the burden of cancer in Hawai'i always amazes me. It is great working with such wonderful and committed colleagues to prevent and beat cancer among our ohana here on the islands," said Dr. Ramos.

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center is one of 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care.
Learn more at Like us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.


New Highlights

October 30, 2015

Phil Olsen


The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center discovery could warn patients years in advance allowing for a lifestyle change

HONOLULU – A panel of markers have been discovered that helps identify if a person is pre-diabetic by measuring the fatty acids in their blood. This discovery by University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers may allow physicians to warn patients years before the onset of diabetes, therefore allowing them to change their lifestyle patterns potentially avoiding the diagnosis of a chronic disease.

"Currently there are no clinical tests that tell you the likelihood of developing diabetes, only exams that tell you for example if someone that is pre-diabetic has relatively high blood sugar or insulin levels," said Dr. Wei Jia director of the UH Cancer Center's Metabolomics Shared Resources Program. "To know if you are likely to get diabetes in a few years is an important discovery. People can hopefully get tested for the disease during physical exams in the future."

The unsaturated fatty acid markers recently identified in a study published online in the journal EBioMedicine can mark if someone is pre-diabetic long before conventional ways of measuring the disease. The levels of these fatty acids can change up to 10 years before the individuals are diagnosed with diabetes.

The markers through a blood sample test may help predict the risk of developing pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions including elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance and high glucose level.

"It is conventionally assumed that if people are obese they are in risk of being pre-diabetic. However, sometimes people who are obese can still be healthy. If people know they are specifically pre-diabetic they can have a more targeted way of treating it," said Dr. Jia.

Obesity is associated with the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, it has been increasingly recognized that obesity is not a homogeneous condition and about 25 to 40 percent of obese individuals can actually maintain healthy status with no apparent signs of health complications.

Dr. Jia and his research team conducted a metabolomics study on four independent cohorts that involved a total of 452 participants, in collaboration with scientists at Shanghai Jiao Tong University affiliated Shanghai 6th People's Hospital.

The team performed a cross-sectional study with metabolically healthy and unhealthy obese subjects, a longitudinal study to observe the occurrence of developing pre-diabetes over as long as ten years, and two studies to evaluate the therapeutic effects on subjects who underwent metabolic surgery or received very low carbohydrate diet for eight weeks.

The researchers aim to continue developing the blood test technology, and eventually have it available for physicians.