Poison Drummer Rikki Rockett Cancer-Free Following Immunotherapy at UC San Diego Health

Rikki Rockett, drummer for the band Poison, got the best news of his life last week: his cancer is gone. Rockett was diagnosed with oral cancer more than a year ago. Several months ago, he came to Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, where he underwent experimental cancer immunotherapy, which has now eradicated the tumor.

Rockett says he joined the clinical trial not only out of concern about himself, but also about being around for his three-year-old daughter, Lucy, and his seven-year-old son, Jude. … Read the Full Story by Heather Buschman from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Gene Mutation “Hotspots” Linked to Better Breast Cancer Outcomes

Genetic phenomenon associated with low tumor invasiveness and longer patient survival could inform prognosis and help identify patients who would best respond to immunotherapy and other treatments —

Kataegis is a recently discovered phenomenon in which multiple mutations cluster in a few hotspots in a genome. The anomaly was previously found in some cancers, but it has been unclear what role kataegis plays in tumor development and patient outcomes. Using a database of human tumor genomic data, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have discovered that kataegis is actually a positive marker in breast cancer — patients with these mutation hotspots have less invasive tumors and better prognoses. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dr. Jill Mesirov

Dr. Jill Mesirov

The study coauthors included Department of Medicine faculty researchers Pablo Tamayo, PhD, and Jill P. Mesirov, PhD. Both are Professors of Medicine in the Division of Genetics.

Read the Full Text (UC San Diego Only)

Aspirin Versus Blood Thinners in Atrial Fibrillation Patients with Stroke Risk

Nearly 40 percent of patients treated with aspirin alone despite previous data showing blood thinners more beneficial —

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine report that more than 1 in 3 atrial fibrillation (AF) patients at intermediate to high risk for stroke are treated with aspirin alone, despite previous data showing this therapy to be inferior to blood thinners.

The findings publish online June 20 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Jonathan C. Hsu

Dr. Jonathan Hsu.

The lead author of the study report is Jonathan C. Hsu, MD, MAS, Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor in the Cardiac Electrophysiology Section of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Read the study abstract

Drs. Brian Clay, Marlene Millen, Amy Sitapati Take New Leadership Roles in Clinical Informatics

On June 16, 2016, UC San Diego Health Chief Information Officer Dr. Christopher Longhurst announced the formation of a new clinical informatics faculty leadership structure at UC San Diego Health in which three Department of Medicine faculty members are appointed to new roles.

“We recognize these individuals for their past contributions, collaborative skills and vision of health care innovation to benefit our faculty, staff, patients, and families,” Dr. Longhurst said.

Dr. Brian Clay is appointed Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) for Inpatient and Hospital Affiliations. Dr. Clay is Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hospital Medicine.

Dr. Marlene Millen, Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, is Chief Medical Information Officer for Ambulatory Care.

Dr. Amy Sitapati, Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Medicine, Owen Clinic, is the Chief Medical Information Officer for Population Health.

 

 

Disjointed: Cell Differences May Explain Why Rheumatoid Arthritis Varies By Location

Findings point to new approaches in targeted therapies so that what works for arthritic hands may not be the same for ailing hips —

Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Pennsylvania and China, report that not only are there distinct differences in key cellular processes and molecular signatures between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) but, more surprisingly, there are joint-specific differences in RA. The findings help explain, in part, why drugs treating RA vary in effect – why, for example, a treatment that might work in arthritic knees isn’t effective in an arthritic hip – and provide a potential new template for precisely targeting treatment for each and every ailing joint. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Gary Firestein

Dr. Gary S. Firestein

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology, is co-corresponding author of the study report with Wei Wang, PhD, professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego.

Dr. Firestein is Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) and Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine for UC San Diego.

A Department of Medicine faculty coauthor of the report is David L. Boyle, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and Co-Director, Translational Research Technology, CTRI.

Read the study report (UC San Diego Only)

Body’s Own Gene Editing System Generates Leukemia Stem Cells

Inhibiting the editing enzyme may provide a new therapeutic approach for blood cancers —

Cancer stem cells are like zombies — even after a tumor is destroyed, they can keep coming back. These cells have an unlimited capacity to regenerate themselves, making more cancer stem cells and more tumors. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have now unraveled how pre-leukemic white blood cell precursors become leukemia stem cells. The study, published June 9 in Cell Stem Cell, used human cells to define the RNA editing enzyme ADAR1’s role in leukemia, and find a way to stop it. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD

Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD

The senior author of the study report is Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Jamieson is Deputy Director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health, Director of the CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinic at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Director of Stem Cell Research at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

UC San Diego Division of Regenerative Medicine coauthors include Sheldon Morris, MD, MPH, Data Management Lead for the UC San Diego CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinic; co-first authors Maria Anna Zipeto and Angela C. Court, Anil Sadarangani, Nathaniel P. Delos Santos, Larisa Balaian, Gabriel Pineda, Cayla N. Mason, Ifat Geron, Daniel J. Goff, Russell Wall, Leslie A. Crews and Qingfei Jiang.

Read the study report (UC San Diego only)

Visit the Jamieson Lab Website

Drs. John Chang, William Sandborn and Kim Barrett Honored by American Gastroenterological Association at DDW 2016

Drs. John T. Chang, William J. Sandborn and Kim E. Barrett have received high honors at Digestive Diseases Week® 2016, the annual joint meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association and other gastroenterology and hepatology societies.

John T. Chang, MD

John T. Chang, MD

John T. Chang, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, was honored with the AGA Young Investigator Award in Basic Science.  |  Read AGA Press Release

The award recognizes Dr. Chang for his originality and innovative insight into basic mechanisms underlying lymphocyte fate specification in systemic and mucosal immune responses.

Dr. Chang is currently exploring whether pharmacologic modulation of proteasome activity might be a useful strategy for improving memory cell generation, highly relevant for mucosal vaccine development.  |  Visit the Chang Laboratory

Dr. William Sandborn

William J. Sandborn, MD

William J. Sandborn, MD, AGAF, received the 2016 AGA Institute Council Immunology, Microbiology & Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IMIBD) Section Research Mentor Award.

Dr. Sandborn is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at UC San Diego.

The AGA Institute Council Intestinal Disorders Section Research Mentor Award went to Kim E. Barrett, PhD, AGAF, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Dean of Graduate Studies at UC San Diego.

Kim E. Barrett, PhD

Kim E. Barrett, PhD

The AGA gave its highest honor, the Julius Friedenwald Award, to C. Richard Boland, MD, AGAF, a past leader of the UC San Diego Division of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Boland was Chief of Gastroenterology at UC San Diego from 1995 to 2003.  |  Read the AGA Press Release

Dr. Boland, now at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX, received the award for his lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology and the AGA.

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT) are other sponsoring societies in DDW.

How Decriminalizing Drugs Might Affect the Spread of HIV in Tijuana

Richard Branson and experts debate the losing war on drugs — and its victims — at UC San Diego event —

As the 1960s came to a close, Richard Nixon famously declared a “war on drugs.” They were “public enemy number one,” the president said. Their menace demanded a full-throated federal effort of interdiction, eradication and incarceration.

The goal: No more illegal drugs. Period.

The reality: The war still rages. There are now more illegal drugs produced and consumed than ever.

If the war on drugs were one of his businesses, said Sir Richard Branson, the renowned British magnate, philanthropist and activist, it would have been shut down within a year. “It hasn’t worked at all, ever, but governments continue to ignore the facts, creating untold misery. Drug use isn’t a criminal problem. It’s a health problem.”
Image

Branson, who has become a major voice in the global drug policy debate, visited UC San Diego last week to participate in a panel discussion on global drug decriminalization and Tijuana’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is fueled in part by widespread drug use, notably the sharing of needles to inject black tar heroin. … Read the Full Feature Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Steffanie Strathdee, PhD

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD

The UC San Diego Global Health Institute (GHI) was a co-sponsor of the event. GHI Director Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, was moderator and host of the event.

Dr. Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Medicine.

Novel Imaging Model Helps Reveal New Therapeutic Target for Pancreatic Cancer

Antisense treatment in preclinical models shows effectiveness against deadly tumors —

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common of pancreatic cancers, is extraordinarily lethal, with a 5-year survival rate of just 6 percent. Chemotherapy treatments are poorly effective, in part due to a high degree of drug-resistance to currently used regimens.

In a new study, published online June 6 in Nature, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, together with colleagues at Keio University, the University of Nebraska and Ionis Pharmaceuticals describe an innovative new model that not only allowed them to track drug resistance in vivo, but also revealed a new therapeutic target … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Tannishtha Reya, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Professor of Pharmacology, was co-principal investigator of the project.

Dr. Frederick D. Park

Dr. Frederick D. Park

Another Department of Medicine coauthor was Frederick D. Park, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Personalized Medicine Leads to Better Outcomes for Patients with Cancer

In a meta-analysis of hundreds of clinical trials involving thousands of patients, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that therapeutic approaches using precision medicine, which emphasizes the use of individual genetics to refine cancer treatment, showed improved response and longer periods of disease remission, even in phase I trials.

The findings are published in the June 6, 2016 issue of JAMA Oncology. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

The senior author of the report in JAMA Oncology is Razelle Kurzrock, MD, Director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy and Clinical Trials Office at Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Kurzrock is Chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Medicine.