Cancer Research

How scientists shot down cancer’s ‘Death Star’

February 5, 2021

lung cancer cell

A colored scanning electron micrograph of a cell of a common type of lung cancer, called non-small cell cancer. A new drug targets the mutated protein that leads to uncontrolled growth. Credit Steve Gschmeissner/Science Source

An expert on 'undruggable' targets tackles the coronavirus

October 5, 2020

Dan Nomura

Nomura in his lab at UC Berkeley. Photo: Elena Zhukova

Megaphages harbor mini-Cas proteins ideal for gene editing

July 20, 2020

Illustration of a megaphage injecting its DNA into a gene

The DNA-cutting proteins central to CRISPR-Cas9 and related gene-editing tools originally came from bacteria, but a newfound variety of Cas proteins apparently evolved in viruses that infect bacteria. The new Cas proteins were found in the largest known bacteria-infecting viruses, called bacteriophages, and are the most compact working Cas variants yet discovered — half the size of today’s workhorse, Cas9.

Skin cancer mystery revealed in Yin and Yang protein

December 29, 2019

research announcement about B-Raf V600E

Researchers in the UC Berkeley lab of John Kuriyan, Chancellor's Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the departments of Molecular and Cell Biology and Chemistry, have utilized powerful NSF funded supercomputers at the University of Texas Advanced Computing Center and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to uncover the mechanism that activates cell mutations found in about 50 percent of melanomas.

Two startups founded by Chemistry faculty to watch

November 18, 2019

UC Berkeley startups to watch

Even the hippest chemist doesn’t know how many potentially world-changing chemistry start-ups are out there. As we at C&EN present our fifth class of 10 Start-Ups to Watch (two companies are founded by UC Berkeley faculty and alum), we can confirm that there are definitely hundreds, and perhaps thousands. That makes the job of picking just 10 a challenge—though an inspiring one. This year’s choices were selected after vigorous debate by our writers and editors. We made our own lists based on our day-to-day reporting and scoured the hundreds of firms nominated by readers and advisers from around the world. We picked winners for their groundbreaking chemistry as well as the importance of the problems they are tackling.

Alumna Margaret Chu-Moyer in the news

November 12, 2019

Margaret Chu-Moyer

When Chu-Moyer was tapped to head up the research and chemistry groups across Amgen’s three U.S. R&D sites in 2014, she knew she would have to make some changes for the company to succeed in bringing a KRAS inhibitor into clinical trials, along with other novel treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. For one, she needed to improve the collaboration between scientists who had different areas of expertise—and who lived and worked in different zip codes.

Reimagining “Druggability”

November 5, 2019

Dan Nomura

In the modern age of pharmacology, some of the newest heroes in the war against human disease are biologists and chemists working in chemical proteomics. Among the leaders in this research is the Novartis-Berkeley Center for Proteomics and Chemistry Technologies (NB-CPACT), a joint venture linking Novartis, a large pharmaceutical company, and the world’s leading public research university. Launched in October 2017, the center is developing new technologies to further the discovery of next-generation therapeutics for cancer and other diseases.

A Single Dose for Good Measure: How an Anti-Nuclear-Contamination Pill Could Also Help MRI Patients

September 12, 2019

Rebecca Abergel

When chemist Rebecca Abergel (Ph.D. '06, Chem) and her team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory successfully developed an anti-radiation-poisoning pill in 2014, they hoped it would never have to be used. Now the researchers are studying how that very same pill could help protect people from the potential toxicity of something else – the long-term retention of gadolinium, a critical ingredient in widely used contrast dyes for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.

Frontier Medicines launches $67M startup to develop novel medicines that target "undruggable" diseases

June 26, 2019

Frontier Medicines launches new company to fight cancerFrontier Medicines has announced the launch of a new startup to actively develop medical treatments for currently "undruggable" diseases. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1,762,000 new cancer cases and approximately 607,000 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in the US in 2019.

Harnessing the cellular “trash can” to fight cancer

June 18, 2019

Fighting cancerUC Berkeley scientists have published a new study in Nature Chemical Biology that investigates how nimbolide, a natural product derived from the neem tree, may function in impairing cancer pathogenicity.