A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE

Al-Abdullah, Ismail, Ph.D.

Ismail Al-Abdullah, Ph.D. Research
Coating Human Islets with Macromolecular Heparin
This project is carried out in collaboration with University of Uppsala Sweden.  Achieving successful reversal of diabetes with minimum Heparin precoated islet mass would have a major impact in translating the result generated from this study to clinical practice to use islet isolated from a single donor to reverse a single type 1 diabetic recipient.
Growth Factors in Culture Media Supplement to Improve Islet Quality and Quantity
This proposal will test the hypothesis that culturing islets in serum free medium supplemented with growth factors such as gastrin, EGF and exendin can promote islet function, yields; promote proliferation of islet progenitor cells to ultimate transplantation of islets from a single donor.

The Role of alpha-glutathione S-transferase (α-GST) in Human Islets
The ultimate goal of this study is to develop a simple, fast and reliable biomarker to monitor islet function and survival. Based on our feasibility study that islets are indeed contain and secrete α-GST. This novel biomarker will be used to monitor islet function during the isolation and post culture. We intend to use this biomarker to monitor islet integrity and develop the best conditions for islet recovery and survival post transplant.
Collaboration with the University of Uppsala
Our main focus on this collaboration is to further improve our islet isolation procedure for enhancing and improving islet quality so that a single diabetic patient could be transplanted and reverse diabetes with islets isolated from a single donor.
Collaboration on Non-Human Primate Islet Transplantation Protocol
We have initiated this collaboration with Dr. Defu Zeng and University of Maryland for induction of tolerance in the recipients. Donor pancreas from non-human primate was shipped and the isolated islets when transplanted into diabetic mice, diabetes were reversed.  The outcome of this study results obtain from this study will have major impact for FDA approval for eventual application of novel strategies for tolerance induction to cure type 1 diabetic patients with islets isolated from cadaveric donors.
Development of Novel Peptide for Collagenase and Neutral Protease Activities
Collaboration with Dr. Markus Kalkum from the immunology department at City of Hope has been established and we have already developed a novel peptide for collagenase and neutral protease activities assessment to define a better enzymes for pancreas digestion to free the islets for ultimate goal to transplant islets into a single diabetic recipient isolated from a single cadaveric donor pancreas.

Lab Members

Ismail Al-Abdullah, Ph.D.
Research Professor
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 60109
Luis Valiente
Senior Research Associate
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 65639
Shiela Bilbao
Research Associate II
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 61410
Alina Oancea, M.D.
Research Associate II
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 63923
Brian McFadden
626-246-HOPE (4673) ext. 33101
Research Associate I
City of Hope combines compassionate care with the best and most innovative science. Our 100+ acre campus is designed to meet the full range of needs of our patients and families. This guide is designed to help you take advantage of all that is offered at City of Hope - Duarte.
To make an appointment for yourself, a family member or a friend, please complete and submit our Become a Patient Request Form, or call City of Hope at
800-826-HOPE (4673).
Contact Us
Phone: (800) 826-HOPE (4673)
Hours: M – F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST)
Calls received after 5 p.m. will be returned the next business day.
Patient Care Overview

The Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center embodies the heart and soul of City of Hope’s mission to care for the whole person.
Info for Referring Physicians
City of hope welcomes patient referrals from physicians throughout the world. City of Hope is located near northeast Los Angeles, in Duarte, California.

  • The burgeoning type 2 diabetes epidemic casts a pall over the health of America’s public. New research now shows the looming threat is getting worse. Much worse. A diabetes trends study published earlier this mongh in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Contro...
  • An aspirin a day might help keep breast cancer away for some breast cancer survivors, a new study suggests. Obese women who have had breast cancer could cut their risk of a recurrence in half if they regularly take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, report researchers from the...
  • Christine Crews isn’t only a fitness enthusiast, she’s also a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Being active defines her life. So when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 30, she decided she absolutely couldn’t let the disease interfere with that lifestyle. And it didn’t. For t...
  • Cancer treatment and the cancer itself can cause changes in your sense of taste or smell. These side effects typically subside after treatment ends, but there are ways to help alleviate those bitter and metallic tastes in your mouth. Here are tips from the National Cancer Institute to help keeps tastes and food...
  • Immunotherapy — using one’s immune system to treat a disease — has been long lauded as the “magic bullet” of cancer treatments, one that can be more effective than the conventional therapies of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. One specific type of immunotherapy, called adoptive T cell thera...
  • Today, when cancer spreads from its original site to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis, patients face an uphill battle. Treatments are poorly effective, and cures are nearly impossible. Further, incidence rates for these types of cancers are increasing – particularly for cancers that have s...
  • Thanks to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), high school students across the state gained valuable hands-on experience with stem cell research this summer. City of Hope hosted eight of those students. As part of the CIRM Creativity Awards program, the young scholars worked full time as m...
  • Radiation therapy can help cure many children facing Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. When the radiation is delivered to a girl’s chest, however, it can lead to a marked increase in breast cancer risk later in life. A recent multi-institutional study that included City of Hope’s Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., t...
  • A patient diagnosed with cancer – especially a rare, advanced or hard-to-treat cancer – needs specialized care from exceptionally skilled and highly trained experts. That kind of care saves lives, improves quality of life and keeps families whole. That kind of care is best found at comprehensive cancer centers ...
  • Appetite loss may be common during cancer treatment, lasting throughout your therapy or only occasionally, but it can be managed. Below are tips from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that can help you keep your weight up and, in doing so, keep your body well-nourished. (See the end of this article for a deli...
  • Myelodysplasia, sometimes referred to as myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, is a rare group of blood disorders caused by disrupted development of blood cells within the bone marrow, resulting in a decreased number of healthy blood cells. People diagnosed with the condition, considered a precancer, may be at great...
  • Twenty years ago, scientists discovered that a mutation in a gene now widely known as BRCA1 was linked to a sharply increased risk of breast cancer, paving the way for a new chapter in identifying women at risk of the disease and giving them options to potentially avoid an aggressive cancer. But experts have al...
  • The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope turned 54 this year. Marking the occasion, the academy announced a new scholarship in honor of longtime director Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D. Salvaterra, a professor in City of Hope’s Department of Neurosciences, has led the summer student acade...
  • Stevee Rowe has a very personal connection to the research she’s conducting on neural stem cells: Her late father participated in a City of Hope clinical trial involving neural stem cells. Rowe — her full name is Alissa Stevee Rowe, but she prefers to use her middle name — will enter her senior year at the [...
  • Although multiple myeloma is classified as a blood cancer, patients with this disease often experience bone-related symptoms, too. This includes bone pain, frequent fractures and spots of low bone density or bone damage that show up during a skeletal scan. Here, Amrita Krishnan, M.D., director of City of Hope&#...