Fresno State studies metabolites to target cancer

November 9, 2017 9:03pm
Comment Print Email

•  It’s cutting-edge cancer research in a humble setting

•  “Personalized medicine is the way of the future”

Jason Bush at work in his lab

(Fresno State photo)

In an unpretentious lab on the Fresno State campus where an old stenciled sign on the door indicates it had been not much more than closet, Jason Bush, professor of biology, is looking for ways to target biological mechanisms that fuel cancer.

Clues to cutting-edge cancer research may be found in metabolites, small molecules that could hold the secret to better quality of life for patients diagnosed with brain or breast cancer.

"Personalized medicine is the way of the future," Mr. Bush says. "It's about really understanding you, your own genetics and the genetics of the cancer to help refine the treatment."

Mr. Bush’s work with biology students is just one of the latest research projects underway in the College of Science and Mathematics at Fresno State, which recently received two major gifts to further its mission “to graduate the next generation of scientists and mathematicians, teachers, technicians, health professionals and field researchers."

A $1 million gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous was announced last month, with half allocated to student research in genetics and molecular biology and the other half for the President's Circle for Excellence.

And Chevron has announced a $450,000 donation to Fresno State in support of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering and College of Science and Mathematics.

Mr. Bush’s current work involves refining cancer treatments by studying stem cells.

“Humans are merely extrapolations of all their trillions of cells, but stem cells are special,” he says. “They have the potential to develop into different cell types throughout the body, thus acting as an internal repair system that is crucial to a healthy life.”

Maria Mendoza, a Fresno State biology graduate student, works with human stem cells, trying to find better ways to treat brain cancer.

"Human stem cells' purpose is to regenerate neurons and their supporting cells throughout life," she says. "That will keep you healthy. You're able to learn, you're able to continue on with your life."

In the lab, stem cells have to be treated carefully to avoid stress factors that might cause unwanted variables in the research, Ms. Mendoza says. Research results must be consistent in order to be valid.

“It is known that stem cells differentiate via two mechanisms that support a healthy body. They can have symmetric division in which they can make a new neural stem cell," she says. "That's the goal. Then, asymmetrically, they make progenitor cells that turn into the supporting cells."

An advantage to looking at the metabolites is that there are a limited number of them within a cell. Humans have about 21,000 genes from which hundreds of thousands of proteins can be produced. But the number of metabolites is much fewer. So looking at the metabolite profile can give researchers clues into what biochemical pathways may be triggered during cancer treatments. That's a way of fine-tuning potentially new therapeutic strategies.

"The problem is tailoring it so that you kill the cancer cells without actually killing the normal cells," Mr. Bush says. "So we have to have strategies to attack cancer cells preferentially. Since cancer cells are rapidly dividing cells, we tend to target those kinds of biological mechanisms."

The new scientific approaches being evaluated by Fresno State students and their professor could conceivably advance treatments targeting cancer cells while minimizing collateral damage. In short, a little metabolite could be exploited to take cancer therapy into the future.

"That's where modern medicine is going," says Mr. Bush. "It's all about not just treating two people the same way, because that's inefficient, and someone may not benefit from treatment. The more we can fine tune how to individualize a treatment, the more success we're going to have."

Comment Print Email

  • How to compete against Wal-Mart
  • Stockton mom turns a need into a business
  • The entrepreneur is in
  • Writing her own success story
  • Growing a small business the family way
  • The future pencils positive for this company
  • Niche marketing -- Italian style
  • Sipping success with niche marketing
  • Roasting a business out of his passion
  • Success as an independent consultant takes more than expertise
  • Avoiding the traps of employee law violations
  • Cracking the voice-over market
  • The American Dream realized, one package at a time
  • Female winemaker plunges into business
  • A new take on nurse education
  • Family sees moving business success
  • STEM thrives in pockets of education innovation
  • STEM goes solar in Stockton
  • Quick! There’s a robot in my pool
  • Retiring seniors can mean new business
  • Predawn biotech class trains next generation of science workers
  • Staying ahead of the competition the old fashioned way
  • Central Valley sees mismatch between high-tech jobs and job seekers
  • STEM starts young
  • Get ready – the future is here now
  • STEM Education: Growing the Valley's Future
  • They’re low power in wattage only, not ideas
  • Thinking success spawns Successful Thinkers
  • Small business success can mean finding the right niche
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Getting the scoop on small business success
  • Reshoring could rebuild America's manufacturing
  • Marketing that’s deliberately anchored to the past
  • Guitar artist plays his way to success
  • Paralysis no handicap for this entrepreneur
  • Boost sales with better communication
  • Making sandwiches sexy with a franchise
  • Going solar without spending a lot of money
  • They’re cute and cuddly. But are they a business?
  • Opportunity sails forth in the Delta
  • How bad etiquette on the job could kill your career
  • Growing their way out of hunger and poverty
  • Finding small business success from floor to ceiling
  • Why he’s public enemy #1 – for gophers
  • Running a home-based business successfully
  • Your boss needs a vacation – really
  • Couple makes transition from big corporations to small business
  • Carving a small business niche with a better idea
  • Calm is the goal of computer service and education franchisor
  • Developer squeezing new life into downtown with juice franchise
  • Signs of a recovering economy
  • How to keep a family business in the family
  • Ford dealership expands despite the Great Recession
  • Utility Telephone connects with customer service
  • Crowdfunding basics
  • The roar from crowdfunding is getting louder
  • California water wars’ bulldog
  • Water wars heat up in California
  • Helping businesses grow with a stronger STEM
  • How to retain your best employees
  • Small business runs success up the pole
  • Winery expands in Lodi
  • Lodi wineries tapping into growing Chinese market
  • Has the jobs picture brightened for the Valley for 2012?
  • The right education will be needed for 21st Century jobs
  • Where new jobs for San Joaquin will come from
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin – Part 2
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin
  • Fruits of his labor
  • Helping grow food security in the Valley of plenty
  • Doing a business turnaround despite the recession
  • Keeping customers loyal helps build her business
  • Expo exposes businesses to utility contracting ideas
  • Drink mix maker taps expertise to blend success
  • Entrepreneur finds success in a basket
  • Tips for catching resume fraud
  • There’s no checking out for this small business owner
  • Entrepreneurs take Valley sports play-by-play to the world
  • Starting a winery from scratch
  • Job hunting tips for the long-term unemployed
  • In the Central Valley, opera isn’t always the Grand Ole Opry
  • Branding ideas for small businesses
  • The ump’s not blind, but the players are
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way - Part Two
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way
  • Machines talking to machines is the future
  • Getting involved in the fight against AIDS
  • Franchised divorce says it’s a better way
  • Small business owner is brewing a success story
  • To beat the Great Recession, they’ve expanded
  • Taking a swing at strokes
  • Alert your taste buds – here comes Taste of San Joaquin
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Passion for his city drives him
  • Vicente Fox speaks out on U.S.-Mexico relations
  • Give your support staff recognition and reap top performance
  • Central Valley baker gets top honors for Royal Wedding pie
  • Asparagus Festival ends on high note
  • Stockton close to annual ‘tipping’ point
  • Framing small business success
  • Small business sees Affordable Care Act helping its bottom line
  • What you eat – and when – helps local restaurants
  • Coping with the aftermath of foreclosure
  • How to raise charming children
  • Central Valley grad school goes all-iPads
  • Solution to Delta water wars voiced
  • Making sure your personal bottom line is covered
  • Small California winemaker is all family
  • Small winery relies on family and innovation to compete
  • Central Valley company says it has a better way to store solar power
  • What’s wrong -- and right -- about local TV news
  • What planning means to small business success
  • Making the leap to small business
  • Out of work at middle age? Experts offer advice
  • Small business marketing, one article at a time
  • Congress on your corner as it’s supposed to be
  • Central Valley city’s heritage rediscovered
  • Central Valley school is building students’ foundations
  • Job tips from the expert
  • Long-term jobless worker re-invents himself
  • Building a new power plant means jobs for Central Valley
  • Sacramento reaches for the stars with new science center
  • Lodi Chamber opens China’s doors to small business
  • Writing books for fun – and sometimes profit
  • Black Friday shopping? How to protect yourself from scams
  • California winemakers can find added rewards overseas
  • Wine makers tap overseas markets from Lodi
  • A new revenue stream for Central Valley small businesses
  • Food bank seeks more business support
  • Tips for finding a job in the Great Recession
  • State may solve some of its prison woes with new Stockton facility
  • A solution to underwater mortgages
  • Should public libraries be managed by private firms?
  • Central Valley moves ahead with critical water project
  • Dee Dee Myers and the increasing impact of women on small business
  • How women are growing their small businesses
  • A market with a mission
  • Retailer 'paints' solutions to cash flow challenge
  • An answer for the unemployed – return to school
  • A ‘golden’ small business success story
  • Central Valley winegrapes blessed
  • Rubbing out the recession with a franchise
  • Surviving the recession as a small business
  • It’s personal, union says of Stockton fire cuts
  • How old it too old to start a new business?
  • They've found the recipe for small business success
  • MBA students help revive Central Valley farmers market
  • Classic wooden yachts anchor in Stockton for weekend
  • Foreclosures, short sales – a bank president comments
  • The strength of family helps this small business compete
  • Festival spears success in Central Valley
  • Social media helps keep family business prospering
  • Central Valley students get training in ‘green’ futures
  • Knives readied as Valley cities slash services
  • Central Valley jobless picture still grim
  • Delta residents told to ready for water war
  • Opportunities outlined for Central Valley small businesses
  • Rewiring your brain for success
  • Central Valley no longer ‘shell shocked’ by recession
  • To fix California’s government, look to London
  • Taking your sales pitch to the next level