CAR Trials Drive Leukemia and Lymphoma Treatment in New Direction

Experimental cellular-immunotherapy may boost body’s ability to find and destroy specific cancers —

Cancer immunology is based upon boosting the body’s own immune system to vanquish malignancies. It is among the fastest growing areas of oncology research. Researchers at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center have launched three clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of a novel cellular-immunotherapy that uses modified T cells – one of the immune system’s primary weapons – to treat three different types of blood cancer that often defy existing therapies.

“Lymphomas and leukemias affect thousands of Americans every year and unfortunately a good number of them die as a direct consequence of the disease progression or toxicity from existing treatments,” said Januario E. Castro, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Januario E. Castro, MDDr. Januario E. Castro is the principal investigator of the three ZUMA clinical trials of the potential treatment, KTE-C19. Dr. Castro is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation.
For more information about the trials, contact Amy Guzdar at (858) 822-6843 or aguzdar@ucsd.edu

UC San Diego and GSK Collaborate to Eradicate Cancer Stem Cells, Treat Leukemia

First California institution selected to participate in GSK’s bench-to-bedside academia-industry collaboration program —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center are working with GSK on a bench-to-bedside project to treat leukemia and other diseases by eliminating cancer stem cells. The collaboration is part of GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) program, where academic partners become core members of drug-hunting teams. Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine, will lead UC San Diego’s effort in the new DPAc team. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Catriona Jamieson Announced as Inaugural Chief of New Division of Regenerative Medicine

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

Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD

Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD

Please join me in officially welcoming Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, as the inaugural chief of the new Division of Regenerative Medicine. The Department of Medicine is delighted to announce the inception of the Division of Regenerative Medicine and we enthusiastically support Dr. Jamieson’s talent and vision for this innovative endeavor.

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

Dr. Jamieson joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2005 and is an associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology. She has proven her leadership skills, expertise and effectiveness in her current positions as director of the Stem Cell Research Program at Moores Cancer Center, co-leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program, hematology team leader, co-director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Training Grant, coordinating course director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell course, and a co-director of the new Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center.

Dr. Jamieson received her medical and doctorate degrees from the University of British Columbia. She completed her residency and clinical fellowships in bone marrow transplantation and hematology, as well as her postdoctoral research fellowship in the laboratory of Professor Irving Weissman at Stanford.

As a physician-scientist, Dr. Jamieson specializes in leukemia and myeloproliferative neoplasms, which are a family of uncommon, but not rare, degenerative disorders in which the body overproduces blood cells. These disorders can cause blood clotting which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening complications including transformation to acute leukemia. Dr. Jamieson’s research focuses on the mutant stem cells and progenitor cells in myeloproliferative neoplasms, which can give rise to cancer stem cells. Her stem-cell research studies have taken a substantial leap from identifying a promising treatment in the laboratory to completing the first clinical trial targeting cancer stem cells in humans. Her discoveries in myeloproliferative neoplasms are now being brought together with a drug development track of a regional pharmaceutical company.

Please join me in giving your enthusiastic support to Dr. Jamieson in her new leadership role as the inaugural chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine here at UC San Diego. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to make UC San Diego a key hub for the rapid translation of stem cell discoveries to the clinic.

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)

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.

More information:

Embryonic Development Protein Active in Cancer Growth

Silencing it impairs tumor growth, making ROR1 a potential therapeutic target

A team of scientists at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center has identified a novel protein expressed by breast cancer cells – but not normal adult tissues – that could provide a new target for future anti-cancer drugs and treatments… Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD

Study senior investigator Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD, is Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research and professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology. He is Interim Director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, where he co-leads the Hematologic Malignancies Program.

Dr. Kipps is principal investigator of the UC San Diego site in the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, a research network established last year by the National Cancer Institute and headquartered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Dr. Kipps was named to the National “Top Doctors” List for 2011-2012. In both 2010 and 2011, he was selected for the “San Diego Top Doctors” list.

Thomas Kipps Receives ACGT Investigator Award

Grant will help fund further testing of gene therapy treatment for leukemia patients

Citing his on-going development of an immune-mediated gene therapy for intractable B cell leukemia, the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) has awarded Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD, professor of medicine in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and deputy director of research operations at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, its 2010 Investigator Award in Clinical Translation of Cell and Gene Therapy…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and deputy director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. He holds the Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research. Read more about his research.

Dr. Catriona Jamieson Receives $3.34 Million CIRM Grant for Leukemia Research

Dr. Catriona Jamieson

Dr. Catriona Jamieson has received a $3.34-million Early Translational II award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Dr. Jamieson, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, is Director of Stem Cell Research at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. The new CIRM award will support her efforts to develop treatments that reduce the risk of relapse in leukemia.

Dr. Jamieson is one of two UCSD researchers to receive CIRM grants this week.

Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom.

Read a 2008 interview with Dr. Jamieson about her leukemia research.

In the Media: Dr. Catriona Jamieson

Dr. Catriona Jamieson is one of the researchers interviewed in the CBS Evening News story, “Where America Stands: Stem Cell Research.” The story highlights Dr. Jamieson’s studies of cancer stem cells, their role in the development and recurrence of cancer, and the investigational new drug that targets a cancer stem cell type associated with a form of leukemia.

Dr. Jamieson’s research is also featured in two stories in The Huffington Post:

Catriona Jamieson, M.D., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Director of Stem Cell Research at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

Also interviewed in the CBS Evening News story is UCSD’s Dr. Larry Goldstein, Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program.

In the Media: Drs. Dennis Carson and Catriona Jamieson

Dr. Dennis Carson and Dr. Catriona Jamieson are featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune story, “Leukemia under the microscope: UCSD cancer center gets $20 million research grant.” Read UCSD’s press release about this major funding award here.

Dennis Carson, MD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; Director, Moores UCSD Cancer Center; and Chugai Pharmaceutical Chair in Cancer.

Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Director of Stem Cell Research at Moores UCSD Cancer Center.