Unexpected Activity of Two Enzymes Helps Explain Why Liver Cancer Drugs Fail

Overturning previous assumptions, study also provides new, more realistic model for liver cancer research and drug development —

Some cancers are caused by loss of enzymes that should keep cell growth in check. On the flip side, some are caused by over-activation of enzymes that enhance cell growth. Yet drugs that inhibit the overactive enzymes have failed to work against liver cancer. In mouse models, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a potential reason — counterintuitively, lack of both types of these enzymes can lead to liver disease and cancer. In human liver tumor samples, they also found that deficiencies in these two enzymes, called Shp2 and Pten, are associated with poor prognosis.

The study, published December 13 by Cell Reports, provides a new understanding of how liver cancer develops, a new therapeutic approach and new mouse model for studying the disease. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Rohit Loomba, MD

Rohit Loomba, MD

The study team includes Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, Director of the NAFLD Research Center and Director of Hepatology in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine at UC San Diego. Dr. Loomba is Professor of Medicine (with tenure) and Vice Chief, Division of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Loomba is also Adjunct Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.

New UC San Diego Program Expands Campus Innovation Pipeline

The innovation ecosystem at UC San Diego will open more opportunities for campus entrepreneurs with the launch of Accelerating Innovations to Market (AIM), an ambitious program that encourages graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, researchers and faculty to develop and commercialize their problem-solving ideas.

Coordinated by the Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC), the program invests in milestone-based projects that develop proofs-of-concept and reduce the risk of early-stage technologies. According to Paul Roben, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation, a central focus of AIM is value-driven engagement with industry. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Creating Clinical Bioengineers

New class teaches undergrads to use engineering-based solutions to bridge gap between engineering and medicine —

A group of UC San Diego bioengineering students huddle around a computer screen as colored images of blood being pumped through a heart flash across the screen. The students are observing as a physician annotates an MRI of a patient’s heart and recommend treatment.

“It looks like there is fat here where there shouldn’t be,” says the physician as he pointed to a spot on the screen. “See how this part of the heart isn’t contracting?” … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


The Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine is one of the rotation sites in the Clinical Bioengineering class.

Study Reveals New Role for Hippo Pathway in Suppressing Cancer Immunity

Previous studies identified the Hippo pathway kinases LATS1/2 as a tumor suppressor, but new research led by University of California San Diego School of Medicine scientists reveals a surprising role for these enzymes in subduing cancer immunity. The findings, published in Cell on December 1, could have a clinical role in improving efficiency of immunotherapy drugs. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dennis Carson, MDThe study coauthors include Dennis A. Carson, MD, member of the UC San Diego Resident Faculty in the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program.

Dr. Carson is Emeritus Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology and former Director of the Moores Cancer Center.

Protein That Protects During Stress Sheds Light on How Diabetes Drug Prevents Tumors

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have identified a previously unknown mechanism that helps fortify the structure and tight junctions between epithelial cells — a basic cell type that lines various body cavities and organs throughout the body, forming a protective barrier against toxins, pathogens and inflammatory triggers. Breaches of this barrier can provoke organ dysfunction and development of tumors.

The findings, published online in the current issue of eLife by senior author Pradipta Ghosh, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Pradipta Ghosh

Pradipta Ghosh, MD

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

She is a graduate of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, the Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program and the Department of Medicine Physician-Scientist Training Program.

New Bioinformatic Analysis Reveals Role of Proteins in Diabetic Kidney Disease

MDM2 emerges as key; Software could expose metabolomic information of other diseases —

A new bioinformatic framework developed by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine has identified key proteins significantly altered at the gene-expression level in biopsied tissue from patients with diabetic kidney disease, a result that may reveal new therapeutic targets. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHADr. Kumar Sharma is lead investigator of the team that published the study report in JCI Insights.Kumar Sharma, MD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.

He directs the Institute for Metabolomic Medicine and the Center for Renal Translational Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Study Report (full text UC San Diego only)

Study Finds Psoriasis Drug Significantly Effective in Treating Crohn’s Disease

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have shown that ustekinumab, a human antibody used to treat arthritis, significantly induces response and remission in patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. Results of the clinical trial will appear in the November 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“A high percentage of the patients in the study who had not responded to conventional therapies were in clinical remission after only a single dose of intravenous ustekinumab,” said William J. Sandborn, MD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at UC San Diego Health. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. William Sandborn

William J. Sandborn, MD

William A. Sandborn, MD, is chief of the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine.

Insulin Resistance Reversed by Removal of Protein

By removing the protein galectin-3 (Gal3), a team of investigators led by University of California School of Medicine researchers were able to reverse diabetic insulin resistance and glucose intolerance in mouse models of obesity and diabetes. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Jerrold Olefsky

Dr. Jerrold Olefsky

Dr. Jerrold Olefsky, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the School of Medicine at UC San Diego, is principal investigator of this international study.

Read the Study Report (Full Content, UCSD Only)

See Dr. Olefsky’s Research Profile

Antibody Breaks Leukemia’s Hold, Providing New Therapeutic Approach

In mouse models and patient cells, anti-CD98 antibody disrupts interactions between leukemia cells and surrounding blood vessels, inhibiting cancer’s growth —

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive cancer known for drug resistance and relapse. In an effort to uncover new treatment strategies, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center discovered that a cell surface molecule known as CD98 promotes AML. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Mark Ginsberg

Dr. Mark Ginsberg

Department of Medicine Professor Mark H. Ginsberg, MD, co-directed the study with Tannishtha Reya, PhD, professor of pharmacology.

Dr. Ginsberg is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center.

Read the study report

Visit Dr. Ginsberg’s Lab Website

Active Genetics Goes Global

Tata Trusts & University of California San Diego partner to establish Tata Institute for Active Genetics and Society (TIAGS) —

UC San Diego has received a $70 million commitment from the India-based philanthropic Tata Trusts, which includes the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, to establish the Tata Institute for Active Genetics and Society (TIAGS), a collaborative partnership between the university and research operations in India. UC San Diego, which will be home to the lead unit of the institute (TIAGS-UC San Diego), will receive $35 million in funding, while the remainder of the committed funds is anticipated to support a complementary research enterprise in India (TIAGS-India). … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Anita Raj, PhD

Anita Raj, PhD

Anita Raj, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Global Public Health, is one of the UC San Diego researchers who will contribute to the TIAGS.