Novel Phage Therapy Saves Patient with Multidrug-Resistant Bacterial Infection

Intravenous viruses are used to target deadly bacterium; dramatic case suggests potential alternative to failing antibiotics —

Scientists and physicians at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, working with colleagues at the U.S. Navy Medical Research Center – Biological Defense Research Directorate (NMRC-BDRD), Texas A&M University, a San Diego-based biotech and elsewhere, have successfully used an experimental therapy involving bacteriophages — viruses that target and consume specific strains of bacteria — to treat a patient near death from a multidrug-resistant bacterium. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Health Newsroom

Protein-Protein Interaction Activates and Fuels Leukemia Cell Growth

December 21, 2015

Findings also show how an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment inhibits growth and spread of cancer —

Building upon previous research, scientists at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer report that a protein called Wnt5a acts on a pair of tumor-surface proteins, called ROR1 and ROR2, to accelerate the proliferation and spread of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, the most common form of blood cancer in adults.

They note, however, that these effects of Wnt5a were blocked by a humanized monoclonal antibody specific for ROR1, called cirmtuzumab (or UC-961), which inhibited the growth and spread of CLL cells in both cell lines and mouse models of leukemia. The findings are published in the December 21, 2015 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Thomas Kipps

Dr. Thomas Kipps

Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD, senior author of the study report, is Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research and deputy director for research at Moores Cancer Center. He is Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Read the study report in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (full text, UC San Diego only). J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI83535.

More Anti-inflammatory Genes Mean Longer Lifespans for Mammals

Mammal species with higher copy numbers of siglec receptor genes have longer maximum lifespans —

We age in part thanks to “friendly fire” from the immune system — inflammation and chemically active molecules called reactive oxygen species that help fight infection, but also wreak molecular havoc over time, contributing to frailty, disability and disease. The CD33rSiglec family of proteins are known to help protect our cells from becoming inflammatory collateral damage, prompting researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to ask whether CD33rSiglecs might help mammals live longer, too. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

In Memoriam: Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD

An announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Emeritus professor Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD, former chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and a founder and influential leader in the Department of Medicine, passed away on January 28 at the age of 87.

Dr. Zvaifler was internationally known for his research and academic leadership. Here at UC San Diego, he was also beloved for his generosity in teaching and mentorship. Although he retired to emeritus status officially in 2008, he remained active in his instructional activities for years later.

Dr. Zvaifler left his stamp not only on the successful growth of the academic division he led for two decades but also on the character of the Department of Medicine and the School of Medicine.

In 1970, he was recruited from Georgetown University, where he had led the Arthritis Unit since 1961, to head the rheumatology division in the new medical school at UC San Diego.

From 1972 to 1974, he served as acting chair of the Department of Medicine after founding chair Eugene Braunwald left to take a position at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital of the Harvard Medical School.

This was a period that subsequent Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Helen M. Ranney later described as “a crucial two years in the development of the new School of Medicine at UCSD.”

Dr. Zvaifler spent his entire career at UC San Diego.

A lectureship, the Rheumatology Lectureship Fund, was established in Dr. Zvaifler’s name by the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology in 2008. Its purpose is to bring internationally recognized investigators to UC San Diego for seminars and teaching activities. More detail can be found at http://raidivision.ucsd.edu/About/giving/Pages/give-zvaifler.aspx.

Contributions in Dr. Zvaifler’s memory can be made to the Rheumatology Research Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology.

The American College of Rheumatology conducted a 75th Anniversary Interview with Dr. Zvaifler in 2009.

Thomas Savides, MD, Named Chief Experience Officer for UC San Diego Health System

Thomas Savides, MD, has been named as the first Chief Experience Officer at UC San Diego Health System. In the newly created role, Savides will be responsible for the strategy, leadership and implementation of the plan to improve the total health care experience of patients, families, providers and staff. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

First Angioedema Treatment Center Opens at UC San Diego Health System

UC San Diego Health System in partnership with the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA), a non-profit patient advocacy organization, has opened the nation’s first dedicated center for diagnosing and treating diverse forms of swelling, known collectively as angioedema.

The U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System will serve as an international referral center for people with all types of angioedema and will work closely with basic science laboratories at UC San Diego School of Medicine to better understand the condition and develop new treatments. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Bruce Zuraw, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, is the U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center’s director and the inaugural recipient of the U.S. HAEA Endowed Chair at UC San Diego.  |  Dr. Zuraw’s clinical profile

Dr. Marc Riedl

Dr. Marc Riedl

Marc Riedl, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine, is the Center’s clinical director.  |  Dr, Riedl’s clinical profile

 

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.

UC San Diego Named Stem Cell “Alpha Clinic”

Designation will help speed development of emerging drugs and therapies —

In a push to further speed clinical development of emerging stem cell therapies, Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health System was named today one of three new “alpha clinics” by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency.

The announcement, made at a public meeting in Los Angeles of the CIRM Governing Board, includes an award of $8 million for each of three sites. The other alpha grant recipients are the City of Hope hospital near Los Angeles and University of California, Los Angeles.

“A UC San Diego alpha clinic will provide vital infrastructure for establishing a comprehensive regenerative medicine clinical hub that can support the unusual complexity of first-in-human stem cell-related clinical trials,” said Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, deputy director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center, director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center stem cell program and the alpha clinic grant’s principal investigator. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Health Newsroom

UC San Diego Part of New Effort to Fight Autoimmune Disorders

Major multi-year partnership will focus first on rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

The Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has been named a key site in a national, multi-institution, multi-year $41.6 million program to speed drug discovery, development, diagnostics and therapies for patients with autoimmune disorders, primarily rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus erythematosus, which affect millions of Americans. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Clinical Trial To Test Safety of Stem Cell-Derived Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes

UC San Diego is initial site for first-in-human testing of implanted cell therapy

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, in partnership with ViaCyte, Inc., a San Diego-based biotechnology firm specializing in regenerative medicine, have launched the first-ever human Phase I/II clinical trial of a stem cell-derived therapy for patients with Type 1 diabetes. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Principal investigator in the study is Robert R. Henry, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at UC San Diego and chief of the Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.