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In the News:

The Curtis Lab's long-term experimental evolution study in CRISPR/Cas9 edited human organoids demonstrates that tumor initiation is surprisingly deterministic.

Human cells evolving in the laboratory undergo a series of predictable, sequential genetic changes that lead to pre-cancer. Blocking these changes may allow intervention before cancer occurs.



Christina Curtis received the 2022 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

Professor Christina Curtis received the 2022 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). This honor is in recognition of her paradigm-shifting research on tumor evolution, including the “big bang” model, which explains how treatment-naïve cancers grow in the absence of therapeutic influence and her demonstration that some tumors are born to be bad and can metastasize early. 



Curtis Lab received inaugural NCI Metastasis Network Grant supporting a new Center for Breast Cancer Metastasis

Understanding the spectrum of complex metastatic processes is important to the development of a comprehensive and cohesive understanding of cancer metastasis. The Metastasis Research Network (MetNet) supports several U54 Specialized Centers (RFA-CA-20-029). These collaborative, multidisciplinary projects focus on several themes of the metastatic process and utilize integrative systems-level approaches.

The Stanford Breast Metastasis Center, led by Dr. Christina Curtis, aims to quantify the timing of metastatic dissemination in breast cancer, functionally delineate the contribution of cellular and microenvironmental crosstalk on metastatic proclivity, and characterize the mechanisms of responses by metastatic cells to therapies. To achieve these goals, the Center will use mechanistic computational models that capture dynamic and emergent tumor cell intrinsic and extrinsic properties from clinically annotated longitudinal tissue cohorts and experimental models that capture disease heterogeneity.

Christina Curtis named 2022 Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator Program, open to faculty from Stanford University, UC San Francisco, and UC Berkeley, funds innovative, visionary research with the goal of building engaged, collaborative scientific communities to help solve critical challenges in biomedicine. Christina Curtis was chosen, from among nearly 700 applicants through a competitive process judged by nationally recognized external reviewers and a blue-ribbon Selection Advisory Committee, to be a member of the 2022 cohort of CZ Biohub Investigators. 



Big Bang Model of Tumor Evolution

Nature Genetics volume 47, pages 209–216 (2015)

The Curtis lab’s proposal of a Big Bang model of tumor evolution was included as a major discovery over the past two decades. See the full list of Nature Milestone in Cancer:

Translating Basic Cancer Discoveries to the Clinic

CANCER CELL. Mardis, E. R., Dawson, M. A., Curtis, C., Xu, R., Long, G. V., Scolyer, R. A., Bakhoum, S. F., Nam, D., Garnett, M., Huang, A.2020; 37 (6): 735–37 PMID: 32516583

Christina Curtis and other thought leaders share their perspectives on translating basic science discoveries to the clinic.

Technologies to Watch in 2020

Nature 2020; 577 (7791): 586

Christina Curtis on Computing Cancer. Thought leaders predict the tech developments that could have a big impact in the coming year.

Q&A with Christina Curtis on Computational and Systems Biology

Cancer Discovery 2020; 10 (2), 169

Computational and systems biology is a fast-moving field of cancer research in which scientists use novel technologies and modeling approaches to quantify biological aspects of tumors, generating data that might point to methods of improving cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment. Curtis discussed her research with Cancer Discovery's Catherine Caruso.


NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Highlights

Although the disease breast cancer has one general name, the tumors that define it often contain different genetic mutations.


Scientists Spot Clues to Predicting Breast Cancer's Return [Consumer Health Daily]

New Study Says Breast Cancer Is 11 Different Diseases, Allowing Researchers To Predict Relapse [Forbes]

Breast cancer recurrence, location predicted by molecular data [Stanford Scopeblog]


Some Colorectal Cancers Are "Born To Be Bad," Have Already Spread Long Before Diagnosis [Forbes]

Metastatic Colorectal Cancer May Spread Early in the Disease, Study Finds [National Cancer Institute]

Born Bad': Some Cells Spread Even Before Cancer Is Diagnosed [Medscape News]

“Born to be bad” — some cancers spread before detection [Stanford Scopeblog]


Christina receives 2018 NIH Director's Pioneer Award

Dr. Curtis was awarded the 2018 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award and  which supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose highly innovative and potentially transformative approaches to major challenges in the biomedical or behavioral sciences towards the goal of enhancing human health. See Stanford's Press release.


Curtis Lab receives grant

Drs. Curtis Kuo and Ji lead a NCI funded Cancer Target Discovery and Development (CTD2) Center Grant.


Curtis Lab receives grant

Curtis lab awarded Translational Research Grant from the V Foundation for Cancer Research.


‘Big Bang’ model of colon cancer identifies role time plays in tumor-growth dynamics

A new model describing how colon tumors grow emphasizes the importance of time and the early origin of differences within and among tumors.


Curtis lab receives grant

Curtis lab receives a grant from the Wunderglo Foundation to support their research on metastatic colorectal cancer.