New Biomarkers Might Help Personalize Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Low levels of two genes predicts positive response to chemotherapy and longer survival times —

Metastatic colorectal cancer patients tend to live longer when they respond to the first line of chemotherapy their doctors recommend. To better predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy drugs before they begin treatment, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine conducted a proof-of-principle study with a small group of metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The results, published June 17 in PLOS ONE, revealed two genes that could help physicians make more informed treatment decisions for patients with this disease. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Senior author of the study is Department of Medicine oncologist Paul Fanta, MD, MS, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology. Dr. Fanta is a researcher in the Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Read the article in PLOS ONE (Open Access)

UC San Diego Health System, Scripps Health Partner in Hospice Care, Training and Research

UC San Diego Health System and Scripps Health are partnering to provide improved continuity of patient care, fellowship training and research in hospice and palliative medicine. Under a new five-year agreement, Scripps will work with UC San Diego to provide outpatient and inpatient hospice care for UC San Diego patients, allowing UC San Diego physicians to better coordinate post-acute care for patients with chronic illness. The joint fellowship program is the only physician training program of its kind in San Diego County …

… The hospice and palliative medicine training program is an extension of a fellowship that was previously offered through San Diego Hospice. Gary Buckholz, MD, UC San Diego, and Holly Yang, MD, Scripps Health, co-direct the joint fellowship program, which will be housed at UC San Diego beginning in July 2015. The program will engage faculty from both organizations, exemplifying the teamwork required to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of palliative care and hospice patients and their families. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Division of Regenerative Medicine Holds First Research Symposium

Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD

Dr. Catriona Jamieson

On Friday, January 30, the Division of Regenerative Medicine presented its inaugural symposium on novel research and technologies in regenerative medicine.

The meeting featured scientific presentations by world-renowned academic investigators and industry leaders as well as a discussion panel including keynote speakers Dr. Hans Clevers, Dr. Derrick Rossi, Dr. Carl June and Dr. Wolfgang Dillmann.

Division Chief Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, presented the mission and milestones of the new Division of Regenerative Medicine after introductions from UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla; Vice Chancellor Health Sciences and Dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine Dr. David Brenner; and Chief Executive Officer of UC San Diego Health System and Associate Vice Chancellor of UC San Diego Health Sciences Paul Viviano.

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, is associate professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, deputy director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center, chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine and director of stem cell research at the Moores Cancer Center.

Novel Drug Targeting Leukemia Cells Enters Clinical Trial

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a phase 1 human clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a new monoclonal antibody for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of blood cancer in adults. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


A team led by Dr. Thomas Kipps developed the new antibody, known as cirmtuzumab or UC-961. The work was conducted and supported by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine HALT grant to co-principal investigators Dennis Carson, MD, and Catriona Jamieson, PhD, MD.

Dr. Thomas Kipps

Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhDDennis Carson, MD

L to R: Drs. Kipps, Jamieson and Carson.

Sanford Shattil, MD, Stepping Down as Hematology-Oncology Chief; Remains Fellowship Program Director

Announced August 21, 2014, by Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine

Sanford Shattil, MD

Sanford Shattil, MD

Please join the Department of Medicine in extending a sincere thank you to Sanford (Sandy) Shattil, MD, who will be stepping down as chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology after ten years of service. He will be succeeded by Dr. Razelle Kurzrock.

Dr. Shattil will remain the director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program.

Dr. Shattil earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 1964 and went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine in Chicago in 1968.

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

He completed his residency in internal medicine on the Harvard Medical Service of the Boston City Hospital and a fellowship in hematology at Boston City Hospital’s storied Thorndike Memorial Laboratory.

After a stint in the U.S. Public Health Service in San Francisco, he moved to the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, where he rose through the ranks to become professor of medicine and chief of hematology-oncology.

Razelle Kurzrock, MD

Razelle Kurzrock, MD

In 1995 he moved to The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, and in 2004 he was recruited to become division chief and professor of medicine at UCSD.

During Dr. Shattil’s tenure as the chief of hematology-oncology at UCSD, he has overseen major growth in the patient care, research and educational missions of the division. His vision has been to foster the careers of faculty and fellows in the context of all aspects of the division’s multiple missions and to work with other leaders at the Moores Cancer Center in expanding clinical services in a patient-centric manner.

Dr. Shattil will remain the department’s director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program, a role in which he has served since 2008. He will also continue his long-standing NIH-supported research program into basic and translational aspects of integrin adhesion receptor function for which he is recognized internationally, and he will maintain his clinical hematology practice, both in the inpatient setting and at Moores.

Please join me in expressing our sincere appreciation to Dr. Sandy Shattil for bringing his talents and expertise to both the Division of Hematology-Oncology and the Department of Medicine. We look forward to his continued service.

Molecular Tumor Board Helps in Advanced Cancer Cases

With accelerating development of personalized cancer treatments matched to a patient’s DNA sequencing, proponents say frontline physicians increasingly need help to maneuver through the complex genomic landscape to find the most effective, individualized therapy.

In a paper published in the May 5 online issue of The Oncologist, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center detail their experience evaluating 34 patients between December 2012 and June 2013 using a molecular tumor board – a new type of advisory group comprised of multidisciplinary experts, including those in the fields of tumor genetics, basic science and bioinformatics. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Split Decision: Stem Cell Signal Linked With Cancer Growth

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a protein critical to hematopoietic stem cell function and blood formation. The finding has potential as a new target for treating leukemia because cancer stem cells rely upon the same protein to regulate and sustain their growth. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dr. Gary HardimanGary Hardiman, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, is an investigator on the study.

Citation for the study report in Nature Genetics: Bryan Zimdahl, Takahiro Ito, Allen Blevins, Jeevisha Bajaj, Takaaki Konuma, Joi Weeks, Claire S Koechlein, Hyog Young Kwon, Omead Arami, David Rizzieri, H Elizabeth Broome, Charles Chuah, Vivian G Oehler, Roman Sasik, Gary Hardiman & Tannishtha Reya. Nature Medicine advance online publication, 02 February 2014 (doi:10.1038/ng.2889). Summary | Full text (UCSD only)

John Adamson Honored with American Society of Hematology Mentor Award for Basic Science

Dr.  John AdamsonThis week at its annual meeting in New Orleans, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) is presenting Dr. John W. Adamson with its 2013 Mentor Award for Basic Science.

John W. Adamson, MD, is clinical professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and associate director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

The ASH mentoring awards recognize hematologists who have had a significant, positive impact on their mentees’ careers and, through their mentees, have advanced research and patient care in the field of hematology.

The award cites Adamson for his passion for teaching the interrelationship between clinical medicine and biomedical science and the importance of granting early-career hematologists with protected time to develop their scientific skills.

Dr. Adamson has been particularly exceptional at forging bonds among early-career investigators with similar interests and has been an advocate for the advancement of women in hematology.

Several of his mentees have become leading experts in the field, and many have assumed leadership roles in the greater hematology research community.

Adamson is a past president of the American Society of Hematology and was editor of its official journal, Blood, from 1983 to 1987.

More Information:

Read the American Society of Hematology press release

Using microRNA Fit to a T (cell)

Researchers show B cells can deliver potentially therapeutic bits of modified RNA

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have successfully targeted T lymphocytes – which play a central role in the body’s immune response – with another type of white blood cell engineered to synthesize and deliver bits of non-coding RNA or microRNA (miRNA). … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dr. Maurizio ZanettiPrincipal investigator Maurizio Zanetti, MD, is emeritus professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and director of the Laboratory of Immunology at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Zanetti is the director of tumor immunology for the UCSD Center for Immunology, Infection and Inflammation. He directs the immunology course in the Biomedical Sciences graduate program.

Citation for the study report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

Gonzalo Almanza, Veronika Anufreichik, Jeffrey J. Rodvold, Kevin T. Chiu, Alexandra DeLaney, Johnny C. Akers, Clark C. Chen, and Maurizio Zanetti. Synthesis and delivery of short, noncoding RNA by B lymphocytes. PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print November 25, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1311145110  |  Abstract (Open access)  |  Full text (UCSD only)

Other UCSD news stories about Dr. Zanetti’s work:

$100 Million Gift Launches Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center

UC San Diego-based effort will speed discoveries to new drugs and treatments for patients

Dr. Catriona Jamieson

In a bold and singular step toward delivering the therapeutic promise of human stem cells, businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has committed $100 million to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at the University of California, San Diego… Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

Pictured: 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.