Grant Gives New Breath to Patients Suffering from Severe Pulmonary Hypertension

Nearly $8 million grant helps launch a nationwide patient registry to improve CTEPH practices

Imagine trying to take a deep breath, but feeling like you’re sucking air through a straw. That’s how some patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) describe living with the condition, which is estimated to affect several thousand Americans yearly but is commonly misdiagnosed. UC San Diego Health System is a world leader in CTEPH, and now with a $7.6 million grant, has helped launch the first national CTEPH registry to improve best practices and patient care. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Kim KerrPrincipal Investigator of the project is Kim Kerr, MD, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She directs the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UC San Diego Health System’s Thornton Hospital in La Jolla.

Dr. Michael MadaniCardiac surgeon Michael Madani, MD, co-investigator, is chief of cardiothoracic surgery and director of UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center – Surgery.

Blacks Have Less Access to Cancer Specialists, Treatment

UC San Diego Study Suggests Racial Inequality Leads to Higher Mortality

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say metastatic colorectal cancer patients of African-American descent are less likely to be seen by cancer specialists or receive cancer treatments. This difference in treatment explains a large part of the 15 percent higher mortality experienced by African-American patients than non-Hispanic white patients. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Department of Medicine co-investigators on the project are Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS, associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology; Gregory Heestand, MD, Health Sciences assistant clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Paul Fanta, MD, MS, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.

Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS  Gregory Heestand, MD  Paul Fanta, MD, MS
Above, from left: Drs. Samir Gupta, Gregory Heestand, and Paul Fanta

Citation for the study report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:

Daniel R. Simpson, María Elena Martínez, Samir Gupta, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, Loren K. Mell, Gregory Heestand, Paul Fanta, Sonia Ramamoorthy, Quynh-Thu Le, and James D. Murphy. Racial Disparity in Consultation, Treatment, and the Impact on Survival in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst first published online November 14, 2013 doi:10.1093/jnci/djt318  |  Full text (UCSD only)

“Wildly Heterogeneous Genes”

New approach subtypes cancers by shared genetic effects; a step toward personalized medicine

Cancer tumors almost never share the exact same genetic mutations, a fact that has confounded scientific efforts to better categorize cancer types and develop more targeted, effective treatments.

In a paper published in the September 15 advanced online edition of Nature Methods, researchers at the University of California, San Diego propose a new approach called network-based stratification (NBS), which identifies cancer subtypes not by the singular mutations of individual patients, but by how those mutations affect shared genetic networks or systems. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Trey Ideker, PhDLead investigator in the study is Trey Ideker, PhD, professor of medicine and bioengineering and chief of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Medicine.

Postdoctoral researcher Hannah K. Carter and hematology/oncology fellow John P. Shen are the other Department of Medicine coauthors.

Citation for the study report:  Matan Hofree, John P Shen, Hannah Carter, Andrew Gross, Trey Ideker. Network-based stratification of tumor mutations. Nature Methods (2013) doi:10.1038/nmeth.2651. |  Full text (UCSD only)

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IDASH Projects: Protecting Privacy and Patient Rights in the Name of Scientific Progress

In the years since the best-selling book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” made the issue of informed consent and patient privacy a national topic of conversation, scientists and clinicians have continued to struggle to develop a comprehensive methodology for collecting and sharing data from patients and research subjects without jeopardizing their rights.

The University of California, San Diego’s iDASH project aims to address some of these fundamental challenges to research progress with its most recent series of “Driving Biological Projects” (DBPs) … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Lucila Ohno-MachadoLead investigator in the iDASH project is Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, MBA, PhD, professor of medicine, founding chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics and associate dean for informatics and technology at UC San Diego.

Among other research and education projects directed by Dr. Ohno-Machado are the Biomedical Research Informatics for Global Health training program and the biomedical informatics component of the UC San Diego – Universidade Eduardo Mondlane Medical Education Partnership Initiative.  |  See all DBMI research projects

Dr. Ohno-Machado joined the UC San Diego faculty from Harvard Medical School in 2009. She was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2010.

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DELPHI Project Foretells Future of Personalized Population Health

NSF awards $2 million over four years to UC San Diego computer scientists and physicians

Imagine a new type of healthcare app that does it all – it helps you understand your current health status, assists you in making changes in your life to improve your health, and takes into account the perspective of your entire life history, others in your age group–and perhaps even your neighborhood– who share similar characteristics.

That’s the vision put forward by a team of physicians and computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego who are collaborating on a new digital resource that would take advantage of advances in databases, cyberinfrastructure and machine learning to usher in a new era of health and health care…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Lucila Ohno-MachadoLucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, FACMI, is an investigator on the project, whose title is “Data E-platform Leveraged for Patient Empowerment and Population Health Improvement (DELPHI).”

Dr. Ohno-Machado is professor of medicine and founding chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics. She directs, among other projects, another UCSD biomedical cyberinfrastructure, the Integrating Data for Analysis, Anonymizing and Sharing (iDASH) project. IDASH is a National Center for Biomedical Computing under the auspices of the NIH Roadmap for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Under AHRQ funding, she directs the related project Scalable National Network for Effectiveness Research (SCANNER).

Dr. Ohno-Machado’s research specialty is predictive modeling with an emphasis on calibration methods that combine phenotype and genotype/gene expression data for personalized medicine.

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