Division of Hematology-Oncology
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California
Los Angeles, California
There is considerable interest in the role of stress in breast cancer. Drs. Cole and Bower 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. Previous studies by Drs. Cole and Bowers showed that breast cancer survivors with high stress levels also had higher levels of inflammation. They are currently looking at whether reducing stress with a mindfulness-based intervention will reduce inflammation in breast cancer survivors. Results from this trial will provide new insight into stress-related inflammation in breast cancer survivors, advance our understanding of the connections between these processes, and lay the groundwork for the development of targeted interventions to reduce stress and inflammation.
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.