CIRM Approves New Funding to UC San Diego Researchers Fighting Zika Virus and Cancer

Grants focus on re-purposing drugs to treat Zika infections and using anti-cancer natural killer cells —

The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has approved a pair of $2 million awards to University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers to advance studies of new treatments for Zika virus infections and the use of stem cell-derived natural killer (NK) cells to target ovarian cancer and other malignancies. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Dan Kaufman and his laboratory received one of the two $2.1 million CIRM grants. The normal immune system contains natural killer (NK) cells; Dr. Kaufman and coworkers are using induced human pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to produce NK cells that can target specific tumors, such as ovarian cancer, with high specificity.

Dan Kaufman, MD, PhD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Regenerative Medicine and Director of Cell Therapy at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Drs. Shu Chien, Shaochen Chen Report Creation of in Vitro Liver Tissue Model Using Novel Bioprinting Technology

A team led by engineers at the University of California, San Diego has 3D-printed a tissue that closely mimics the human liver’s sophisticated structure and function. The new model could be used for patient-specific drug screening and disease modeling. The work was published the week of Feb. 8 in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Shu Chien, MD, PhD

Shu Chien, MD, PhD. Photo courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.

Shu Chien, MD, PhD, co-senior author of the study report in PNAS, is founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

In the Department of Medicine, he is Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

Dr. Chien is a world-renowned researcher and inventor who has conducted pioneering investigations in atherosclerosis and hypertension. His work has brought about significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Read the abstract of the PNAS report

Read more about the biofabrication technology used to create the liver model

UC San Diego Researchers Develop Efficient Model for Generating Human Stem Cells

Approach has potential to simplify generation of iPSCs for use in human stem cell therapies

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report a simple, easily reproducible RNA-based method of generating human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in the August 1 edition of Cell Stem Cell. Their approach has broad applicability for the successful production of iPSCs for use in human stem cell studies and eventual cell therapies. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Four Department of Medicine researchers are coauthors of the study report in Cell Stem Cell:

Citation for the study report: Naohisa Yoshioka, Edwige Gros, Hai-Ri Li, Shantanu Kumar, Dekker C. Deacon, Cornelia Maron, Alysson R. Muotri, Neil C. Chi, Xiang-Dong Fu, Benjamin D. Yu, Steven F. Dowdy. Efficient Generation of Human iPSCs by a Synthetic Self-Replicative RNA. Cell Stem Cell – 1 August 2013 (Vol. 13, Issue 2, pp. 246-254)  |  Read the report