Skip to main content
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Disparities at the molecular level

Featured Researchers

Show All

Natalie J. Torok, M.D.

Natalie J. Torok, M.D.

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

 

David R. Gandara, M.D.

David R. Gandara, M.D.

Hematology and Oncology

 

Jay V. Solnick, M.D.

Jay V. Solnick, M.D.

Infectious Diseases

 

David M. Rocke, Ph.D.

David M. Rocke, Ph.D.

Biostatistics

PausePlay | Up | Down           

Disparities Research

At UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers are working to understand the biological mechanisms that may be at work in certain cancers that disproportionately affect different populations. They also are hunting for clues as to why certain types of cancer are more aggressive in one group or another, and why some populations respond differently when given the same treatment for the same disease.

Some examples of this work at UC Davis include:

Poorly understood type of liver disease more progressive in Hispanics and Pacific Islanders

Natalie Torok, an associate clinical professor of gastroenterology and hepatology, is a physician-scientist who studies a poorly understood type of liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is characterized by fat in the liver, inflammation and cirrhosis, and can progress to cancer. The disease can be more progressive in Hispanics and Pacific Islanders for reasons that are still not known. Torok’s work in animal models focuses on understanding the role of an enzyme called NADPH oxidase in liver fibrosis, or scarring, associated with the disease.

Related Publications:
Liver fibrosis causes down-regulation of miRNA-150 and miRNA-194 in hepatic stellate cells and their over-expression causes decreased stellate cell activation 

Rates of lung cancer increasing in younger women who have never smoked; why certain cancer regimens are effective in one population but not another

David Gandara, associate director of clinical research and director of Thoracic Oncology, is working to understand why rates of lung cancer are increasing among younger women who have never smoked, but are declining among men. He also has done clinical trials demonstrating that certain chemotherapy regimens that proved effective against small-cell lung cancer in Japan produced different results in different populations in the United States. This work suggests inherent genetic differences between the populations that characterize tumors.

Related Publications:
Japanese-US common-arm analysis of paclitaxel plus carboplatin in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: a model for assessing population-related pharmacogenomics

Recombinant H. pylori possible preventative treatment for tuberculosis
Jay Solnick, professor of medicine and microbiology at the Center for Comparative Medicine, is researching how an organism called H. pylori, which is responsible for most stomach ulcers and some stomach cancers, may be protective against tuberculosis. His work, in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University and the University of Pittsburgh, may eventually lead to a recombinant H. pylori strain that expresses TB antigens for possible immunization against TB.

 

Related Publications:
Infection with Helicobacter pylori is associated with protection against tuberculosis

Over sensitivity to lose-dose radiation

David Rocke, distinguished professor of biostatistics, is involved in research to determine why some people are more sensitive to the effects of low-dose radiation than are others, and experience more serious side effects. 

Related Publications:
Transient genome-wide transcriptional response to low-dose ionizing radiation in vivo in humans 

Ionizing radiation: a double-edged sword in cancer
UC Davis researchers enhancing benefits and reducing harm of radiation exposure