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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Clinique Award

Area(s) of Focus

Steven W. Cole, PhD

Associate Professor
Division of Hematology-Oncology
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California
Los Angeles, California

Current Research

There is considerable interest in the role of stress in breast cancer. Drs. Bower and Cole are studying the biological pathways that link psychological stress and breast cancer outcomes, with a focus on the nervous and immune systems. Psychological stress activates the stress-response system in the brain leading to release of hormones that influence the immune system and inflammation. Research suggests that beta blockers, used to block stress signaling, may have beneficial effects on clinical outcomes in women with breast cancer. In 2015-2016, Drs Bower and Cole will evaluate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of propranolol, a widely used beta blocker, in early stage breast cancer patients to determine whether propranolol leads to changes in inflammation-related tumor markers. This approach will provide new information on a possible strategy to target the tumor microenvironment to improve breast cancer outcomes.


Steven Cole is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the UCLA School of Medicine. His research maps the molecular pathways by which social and environmental factors influence the activity of human, viral, and tumor genomes. He pioneered the use of functional genomics approaches in social and behavioral research, and has mapped the signal transduction pathways by which social factors enhance replication of viruses (e.g., HIV-1 and HHV-8), alter expression of immune response genes (e.g., IL-6 and Interferon-beta), and up-regulate expression of pro-metastatic genes by human breast and ovarian cancer cells. His research uses computational modeling strategies to identify transcription factors that mediate socio-environmental influences on gene expression and genetic polymorphisms that modify those effects to create Gene x Environment interactions. Dr. Cole is member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Norman Cousins Center, the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute, and the NCI Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer, and he holds a joint appointment in UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.