Two Studies Identify Potential New Drug for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Vedolizumab, a new intravenous antibody medication, has shown positive results for treating both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine. The findings, published in two papers, will appear in the August 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

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William Sandborn, MD,William J. Sandborn, MD professor of clinical medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, was lead investigator in the Crohn’s disease study and co-investigator in the ulcerative colitis study. He is director of UC San Diego Health System’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.

Sandborn joined the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine faculty from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in January 2011. There, he was Dorothy A. Adair Professor of Medicine, vice chair of the Mayo Clinic Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and associate dean of research for Intellectual Property and Industry Relations.

Citations for the study reports:

Sandborn WJ, Feagan BG, Rutgeerts P, Hanauer S, Colombel J-F, Sands BE, Lukas M, Fedorak RN, Lee S, Bressler B, Fox I, Rosario M, Sankoh S, Xu J, Stephens K, Milch C and Parikh A for the GEMINI 2 Study Group. Vedolizumab as Induction and Maintenance Therapy for Crohn’s Disease. N Engl J Med 2013; 369:711-721 August 22, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1215739. |  Full text (UCSD only)

Feagan BG, Rutgeerts P, Sands BE, Hanauer S, Colombel J-F, Sandborn WJ, Van Assche G,  Axler J, Kim H-J, Danese S, Fox I, Milch C, Sankoh S, Wyant T, Xu J and Parikh A for the GEMINI 1 Study Group. Vedolizumab as Induction and Maintenance Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis. N Engl J Med 2013; 369:699-710 August 22, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1215734. |  Full text (UCSD only)

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Study Finds Potential New Drug Therapy for Crohn’s Disease

Ustekinumab Induces, Sustains Clinical Response in Patients

Ustekinumab, an antibody proven to treat the skin condition psoriasis, has now shown positive results in decreasing the debilitating effects of Crohn’s Disease, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine. The study will appear in the October 18, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of MedicineRead the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. William J. SandbornThe principal investigator of the study is Dr. William J. Sandborn, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at UCSD.  |  Read his academic profile  |  Read his clinical profile

Read the report of the study in the New England Journal of Medicine (full text UCSD only)

Citation of study report:  Sandborn WJ, Gasink C, Gao L-L, Blank MA, Johanns J, Guzzo C, Sands BE, Hanauer SB, Targan S, Rutgeerts P,  Ghosh S, de Villiers WJS, Panaccione R, Greenberg G, Schreiber S, Lichtiger S, Feagan BG for the CERTIFI Study Group. N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1519-1528 October 18, 2012 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1203572

Researchers Block Pathway to Cancer Stem Cell Self-Renewal

NOTCH1 Signaling Promotes T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Initiating Cell Regeneration

Research suggests that patients with leukemia sometimes relapse because standard chemotherapy fails to kill the self-renewing leukemia initiating cells, often referred to as cancer stem cells … A team of researchers – led by Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of Stem Cell Research at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center – studied these cells in mouse models that had been transplanted with human leukemia cells. They discovered … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Catriona JamiesonThe senior investigator of the study described in the press release is Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and director of stem cell research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

In the study, the investigators successfully block leukemia stem cell self-renewal. Their work was funded in part by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Development of Highly Active Anti-Leukemia Stem Cell Therapy (HALT) Leukemia Disease Team Research grant for which Dr. Jamieson serves as co-principal investigator with Dennis A. Carson, MD, former director of the Moores Cancer Center.

The overall goal of the HALT project is to develop six drugs – three monoclonal antibodies and three small molecules – to destroy leukemia stem cells.

Funding also came from the Ratner Family Foundation and the Leichtag Family Foundation. Antibody development was performed by Pfizer.

In her research, Dr. Jamieson focuses on translational studies to develop new treatments for myeloproliferative disorders and leukemia. In 2010, she received a $3.34 million grant from CIRM to support her efforts to develop treatments that reduce the risk of relapse in leukemia.  More about this funded project

Dr. Jamieson was named to the “San Diego’s Top Doctors” list for 2010 and 2011.

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Testing Antioxidant Drugs is Transparent

A study using genetically modified zebrafish to visualize early events involved in development of human atherosclerosis describes an efficient model – one that the researchers say offers many applications for testing the potential effectiveness of new antioxidant and dietary therapies. …Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Laboratory test tubes

Leader of the research team is Yury Miller, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. His Department of Medicine coauthors include Joseph L. Witztum, MD, professor in the same division; and Sotirios “Sam” Tsimikas, MD, FACC, professor in the Division of Cardiology.   |   Read the article online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Sexual Selection by Sugar Molecule Helped Determine Human Origins

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say that losing the ability to make a particular kind of sugar molecule boosted disease protection in early hominids, and may have directed the evolutionary emergence of our ancestors, the genus Homo….Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Ajit Varki

Dr. Ajit Varki, pictured above left, is senior author along with Dr. Pascal Gagneux, who is professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Ajit Varki, MD, is Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Co-Director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center, and Co-Director of the UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny.   |  Read the study published in PNAS (free full text)