IMBCR’s Research Staff
The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research has brought together a highly qualified group of internationally recognized scientists in our mission to develop new and cutting-edge therapies for those who suffer from myeloma and bone cancer.
James R. Berenson MD | Chief Executive Officer & President | Medical & Scientific Director
Dr. Berenson is the founder of the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research (IMBCR) and has specialized in research related to myeloma and metastatic bone disease both in the basic and clinical areas for more than 30 years. He has been involved in many of the major breakthroughs that have brought new treatments for patients with these diseases resulting in both an improvement in the length and quality of their lives.
In addition to his research interests in myeloma and metastatic bone disease, he also studies antibodies, T-cell receptors, cytokines, cancer genes, viruses and blood vessel development. Dr. Berenson has also conducted numerous clinical trials related to the treatment of multiple myeloma and metastatic bone disease. Because he is internationally known for his expertise and accomplishments in these areas, he has also been asked to give numerous lectures and organize many meetings both nationally and internationally. Dr. Berenson has a private practice in Los Angeles, which specializes in the treatment of patients with myeloma and metastatic bone disease. He is also President and Chief Executive Officer of Oncotherapeutics, Inc., a corporation that conducts clinical trials related to myeloma and metastatic bone disease as well as other cancers. Read Dr. Berenson’s complete bio.
Dr. Berenson’s many innovations and successes have included:
- A leader in developing techniques that will rid cancer in stem cells for myeloma patients
- Discovery of new genes in myeloma bone marrow that will be potential new targets for innovative treatments
- Development of a new way to sensitively and accurately measure malignant cells which has provided significant improvements in determining the effects of new drugs as well as treatments for tumors
- Discovery of new treatments for myeloma patients that effectively give a much better quality of life for patients through the significant reduction of toxicity
- Revolutionized in vivo models making them highly effective to serve as quick ways to optimize drug dosing and treatment techniques for myeloma and bone cancer patients
- Identified a new herpes virus that is a promising modality to attack myeloma
- Revolutionized research techniques at a genetic level rather than using the traditional protein approach
Haiming Chen MD, PhD, | Director of Research Laboratory
Dr. Chen became a hematologist in China and passed the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) in 2002. He currently serves as a reviewer for the Philip Morris External Research Program and is a member of the American Society of Hematology.
Dr Chen received his doctoral degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Biochemistry Institute, Chinese Academy of Science, and University of Southern California. He completed his postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia and served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California from 1994 to 2001. Dr. Chen received a NIH training grant (1994-1996) for genetic development biology.
In his research, he has discovered that myeloma tumors produce a protein, pleiotrophin, that assists tumor growth by a completely novel mechanism in which a type of white cell called a monocyte turns into a new blood vessel. This discovery has opened exciting new avenues in the development of treatment for myeloma patients and the paper has been published in the prestigious Blood (Chen H. et al. 1; 110: 287-95, 2007).
Dr. Chen has also developed innovative siRNA technology that has led to new advances in controlling the growth of myeloma tumors in the bone as well as stemming the loss of bone density. The paper, “Interference with nuclear factor kappa B and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase signaling by TRAF6C small interfering RNA inhibits myeloma cell proliferation and enhances apoptosis” has been published in Oncogene (Chen H. et al. 25; 6520-7, 2006) He continues to design new uses for this technology to target anti-myeloma therapies to specific genes. Furthermore, Dr. Chen led the discovery of a novel platelet binding protein that allowed advancements in research for new therapies for multiple myeloma and lymphoma.
Ning Xu PhD, Senior Scientist
Dr. Xu is a Senior Scientist at IMBCR. Prior to joining IMBCR, she received her Medical degree from Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China in 2001, and pursued her PhD in Molecular Medicine and Genetics from Medical College of Georgia between 2002 and 2007. Dr. Xu completed her postdoctoral training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 2012. Her work focused on epigenetic mechanisms underlying the development of polycystic ovary syndrome. After she finished her postdoctoral training, Dr. Xu continued the epigenetic project as a Project Scientist. She created androgenized zebrafish by exposing their embryos to testosterone. She found early embryonic androgen exposure induced changes in global methylation status and glucose homeostasis in two generations of fish. Dr. Xu joined a biotechnology company in 2015; she was in charge of overall progress on assay validations, design assays, and final science and technical reports for small business grants. Dr. Xu became a member of the IMBCR staff in 2018. Her project focuses on the role of immune regulatory proteins in multiple myeloma (MM), and potential effects of specific drugs on the function of these proteins.
Eric Sanchez Associate Director of Animal Research
Mingjie Li Research Associate
B.S. WuHan University of Technology and Science
Mingjie is a former laboratory assistant in the Pathology Department at UCLA. Currently he works with DNA, RNA purification, RT-PCR, immuno-histology and cell culture, cell and protein purification, Western blot, flow cytometer, MTT assay, and patient’s sample processing.
Shoulin Wang Research Associate II
Ms. Wang isolates patient samples including bone marrow, blood serum and plasma cells, and supervises the lab’s cell lines. She also assists in characterizing patient samples by cell staining and serum analysis.