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Fox Chase Cancer Center Promotes Molecular Biologist

PHILADELPHIA (May 27, 2005) - Molecular biologist Dominique Broccoli has been promoted to member with tenure in the division of medical science at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Broccoli studies the built-in molecular "clock" found in chromosomes-the rod-like structures that carry our genes. The results of aging are visible in specialized structures at the ends of a chromosome, known as telomeres. Young cells have long telomeres, but whenever a cell divides into two, some telomeric DNA is lost and the chromosome ends grow shorter. Eventually, they are so short that cell division stops; because the cell can no longer divide it eventually dies and is not replaced.

Normally, this system serves to suppress unwanted growth such as tumors. Cancer cells, however, have stopped this chromosomal clock. Because they can continue to reproduce, they have made themselves immortal.

Broccoli is trying to discover how the clock normally works. Understanding this molecular timing system will help make it possible to reset the clock and reverse the immortality of cancer cells through new treatment approaches.

Broccoli joined Fox Chase's medical science division in June 1998. Previously, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University in New York City.

Broccoli received her bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from the University of Nevada-Reno and earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics in 1991 at Wayne State University in Detroit. Before beginning her fellowship in Rockefeller University's laboratory for cell biology and genetics, she completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in human genetics at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1994.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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