Study Shows Certain Gastrointestinal Tumors Associated with Higher Mortality

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have determined that certain gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are more deadly than previously reported in medical literature. Findings are published online in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Paul T. Fanta, MD, Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, is a study coauthor.

Short Overnight Fasting Linked to Increased Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence

Researchers suggest increasing duration of nightly fasting may improve prognosis —

In patients with breast cancer, a short overnight fast of less than 13 hours was associated with a statistically significant, 36 percent higher risk of breast cancer recurrence and a non-significant, 21 percent higher probability of death from the disease compared to patients who fasted 13 or more hours per night, report University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers.

The study, publishing online in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology on March 31 … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Remote Italian Village Could Harbor Secrets of Healthy Aging

Researchers will examine 300 Italian residents, all over 100 years old —

The average life expectancy in the United States is approximately 78 years old. Americans live longer, with better diets and improved health care, than ever before, but only 0.02 percent will hit the century mark.

To understand how people can live longer throughout the world, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have teamed up with colleagues at University of Rome La Sapienza to study a group of 300 citizens, all over 100 years old, living in a remote Italian village nestled between the ocean and mountains on the country’s coast.

“We are the first group of researchers to be given permission to study this population in Acciaroli, Italy,” said Alan Maisel, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

UC San Diego Health Joins National Clinical Trial on Hemophilia B Gene Therapy

69-year-old hemophilia sufferer joins trial after lifetime of spontaneous bleeding —

The Hemophilia and Thrombosis Treatment Center at UC San Diego Health has joined a nationwide clinical trial testing a potential gene therapy that may one day provide a better and long-lasting treatment for people with hemophilia B.

The Phase I/II open-label trial is sponsored by Baxalta Incorporated and will assess the safety and optimal dosing level of an investigational blood clotting factor IX gene therapy treatment. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Annette Von Drygalski, MD, PharmDDirecting the Hemophilia and Thrombosis Treatment Center at UC San Diego Health is Annette Von Drygalski, MD, PharmD, Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine.

In her research, Dr. Von Drygalski is a basic, translational and clinical scientist specializing in hemostasis and thrombosis and particularly in hemophilia.

She is conducting a number of international clinical research trials on potential new treatment options for patients with hemophilia.

Altman Clinical and Translational Research Building Makes Its Debut

New structure will be campus hub for advancing basic science to clinical applications —

Rising above Interstate 5 on the east campus of UC San Diego, the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute Building (ACTRI) officially opened its doors Friday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony under blue skies.

The new seven-story building of steel, glass and grooved concrete is home to the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at UC San Diego, established in 2010 as part of a national consortium of 60 medical research institutions created to energize bench-to-bedside efforts. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Predictive Proteins: Elevated Levels Trigger Metastatic Progression of Cancer Cells

New biomarker may offer more precise and accurate prognoses of disease —

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, with colleagues in Spain and Germany, have unraveled how elevated levels of particular proteins in cancer cells trigger hyperactivity in other proteins, fueling the growth and spread of a variety of cancers. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Pradipta GhoshDr. Pradipta Ghosh is senior author of the study report, which appears in the February 26 online publication of Scientific Reports.

Pradipta Ghosh, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Read Study Report (Full Text; Open Access)

CAR Trials Drive Leukemia and Lymphoma Treatment in New Direction

Experimental cellular-immunotherapy may boost body’s ability to find and destroy specific cancers —

Cancer immunology is based upon boosting the body’s own immune system to vanquish malignancies. It is among the fastest growing areas of oncology research. Researchers at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center have launched three clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of a novel cellular-immunotherapy that uses modified T cells – one of the immune system’s primary weapons – to treat three different types of blood cancer that often defy existing therapies.

“Lymphomas and leukemias affect thousands of Americans every year and unfortunately a good number of them die as a direct consequence of the disease progression or toxicity from existing treatments,” said Januario E. Castro, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Januario E. Castro, MDDr. Januario E. Castro is the principal investigator of the three ZUMA clinical trials of the potential treatment, KTE-C19. Dr. Castro is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation.
For more information about the trials, contact Amy Guzdar at (858) 822-6843 or aguzdar@ucsd.edu

Protein-Protein Interaction Activates and Fuels Leukemia Cell Growth

December 21, 2015

Findings also show how an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment inhibits growth and spread of cancer —

Building upon previous research, scientists at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer report that a protein called Wnt5a acts on a pair of tumor-surface proteins, called ROR1 and ROR2, to accelerate the proliferation and spread of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, the most common form of blood cancer in adults.

They note, however, that these effects of Wnt5a were blocked by a humanized monoclonal antibody specific for ROR1, called cirmtuzumab (or UC-961), which inhibited the growth and spread of CLL cells in both cell lines and mouse models of leukemia. The findings are published in the December 21, 2015 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Thomas Kipps

Dr. Thomas Kipps

Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD, senior author of the study report, is Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research and deputy director for research at Moores Cancer Center. He is Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Read the study report in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (full text, UC San Diego only). J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI83535.

UC San Diego Health Researchers Join Pancreatic Cancer “Dream Team”

November 10, 2015

International effort will seek to develop and test new therapies for deadly malignancy —

In an effort to advance research on one of the deadliest forms of cancer, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers Andrew Lowy, MD, and Tannishtha Reya, PhD, have been recruited for their expertise in preclinical modeling, clinical trials and stem cell biology to join a “dream team” of international pancreatic cancer researchers.

The three-year, $12-million effort, sponsored by Stand Up To Cancer, Cancer Research UK and The Lustgarten Foundation, will pursue a three-pronged strategy to better understand and reset so-called “super-enhancers” that may be abnormally active in pancreatic tumors. Super-enhancers are bits of DNA that can cause over-expression of genetic signals, fueling cancer cell growth. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Tannishtha Reya, PhD, is Professor of Pharmacology in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Professor of Medicine in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Cancer-associated Mutations are Common in Patients with Unexplained Low Blood Counts

November 4, 2015

Researchers use genetic tools to propose a new diagnostic category —

Patients with unexplained low blood counts and abnormally mutated cells who do not fit the diagnostic criteria for recognized blood cancers should be described as having clonal cytopenias of undetermined significance (CCUS), suggest University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers in a recent paper published in the journal Blood. The researchers found the condition surprisingly common in older patients with low blood counts. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Rafael Bejar

Dr. Rafael Bejar

The senior author of the study is Rafael Bejar, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Read Article Abstract

Dr. Bejar was one of 41 UC San Diego Health physicians named on the list of San Diego’s Top Doctors for 2015. The annual list is compiled by the San Diego County Medical Society and San Diego Magazine.