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

No. 1 From the Start

UC San Diego Bioengineering ranked first by National Research Council since founding 50 years ago —

Bioengineers at UC San Diego have helped us understand why atherosclerosis develops and how it is impacted by blood flow. They have pioneered the development of very thin, small and flexible sensors that stick to the skin and monitor vital signs, such as the brain activity of a newborn. They also developed injectable hydrogels that can help muscle tissues heal after a heart attack.

Researchers celebrated their achievements over the past five decades and looked to the future during a three-day 50th anniversary celebration May 19 to 21. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Shu Chien, PhD

Shu Chien, PhD

The founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering is Shu Chien, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology and Professor of Bioengineering. He is founding director of the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

Dr. Chien is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many honorific societies, and he received the Franklin Institute Award in November 2015.

Dr. Catriona Jamieson Receives Excellence in Stewardship Award

Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD

Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD

Dr. Catriona Jamieson is one of three UC San Diego faculty and staff members to receive an Excellence in Stewardship Award this year.

In his announcement to the campus community on April 21, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said, “The UC San Diego community defines exemplary stewardship as taking every measure to ensure that our supporters – donors, volunteers, corporate partners and foundations – understand the full impact and importance of their involvement with UC San Diego.

“Excellent stewardship goes beyond saying ‘thank you’ and instills pride and further engagement by fully communicating to supporters all that their engagement has made possible.”

Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine, Deputy Director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center, Co-Leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program and Director of the Moores Cancer Center Stem Cell Research Program.

She and the other honorees will be recognized at the annual UC San Diego Foundation Dinner on June 2, 2016. The award is presented by the Trustees of the UC San Diego Foundation Board.

More information is available on the UC San Diego Excellence in Stewardship website.

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

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.

Forty-One Department of Medicine Physicians Named on San Diego’s 2015 “Top Doctors” List

This year’s San Diego Magazine/San Diego County Medical Society Top Doctors list includes 41 Department of Medicine faculty clinicians. View photo gallery

New Drug for Blood Cancers Now in Five Phase II Clinical Trials

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have established the safety and dosing of a new drug for treating blood cancers. The findings are published online July 27 in The Lancet Haematology.

The drug is a small molecule inhibitor that suppresses the activity of a signaling pathway believed to contribute to a variety of blood cancers’ eventual resistance to standard chemotherapy treatments. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego News Center


Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD is the senior author of the article reporting the multicenter study. Dr. Jamieson is an associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine in the School of Medicine.

Read summary of article in The Lancet Haematology

UC San Diego and GSK Collaborate to Eradicate Cancer Stem Cells, Treat Leukemia

First California institution selected to participate in GSK’s bench-to-bedside academia-industry collaboration program —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center are working with GSK on a bench-to-bedside project to treat leukemia and other diseases by eliminating cancer stem cells. The collaboration is part of GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) program, where academic partners become core members of drug-hunting teams. Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine, will lead UC San Diego’s effort in the new DPAc team. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Researchers Find Link Between Inflammation, Tissue Regeneration and Wound Repair Response

Discovery has implications for potential new treatments of some cancers and inflammatory bowel disease —

Almost all injuries, even minor skin scratches, trigger an inflammatory response, which provides protection against invading microbes but also turns on regenerative signals needed for healing and injury repair – a process that is generally understood but remains mysterious in its particulars.

Writing in the February 25 online issue of Nature, an international team of scientists, headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report finding new links between inflammation and regeneration: signaling pathways that are activated by a receptor protein called gp130.. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. William SandbornStudy coinvestigators included Division of Gastroenterology division chief William Sandborn, MD, and Inflammatory Disease Center researchers Brigid S. Boland and John T. Chang.

Other Department of Medicine coauthors included Petrus R. de Jong; and Samuel B. Ho, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Section Chief, Gastroenterology, at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Full text of the article (UC San Diego only)