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)

Medicine 401 Teaching Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 2015 Medicine 401 Teaching Awards were announced at an awards ceremony on May 27. Granted by the third-year medical students each year, the awards go to residents and attending physicians for their excellence in teaching on the wards at the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System and the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

The winners:

VA Wards Resident Award: Dr. Tyler Woodell
Hillcrest Wards Resident Award: Dr. Michelle Pearlman

VA Wards Attending Award: Dr. Mara Zulauf
Hillcrest Wards Attending Award: Dr. Darcy Wooten

“There were many kind words of praise and admiration in the comments from the students who worked with Drs. Pearlman and Woodell,” said residency program director Simerjot Jassal, MD. “Congratulations to these outstanding doctors!”

The medical students’ comments included the following.

Dr. Michelle Pearlman

Dr. Michelle Pearlman

Of Michelle Pearlman, MD: … Really focused on teaching … worked hard during the rotation to make sure we were achieving our own goals and learning as much as possible … gave excellent feedback … made great teaching points during rounds … great example of professionalism … will make an excellent teacher … great role model … clear and detailed expectations … we knew exactly what to work on and how to succeed … one of the best residents with whom I have worked … gave frequent feedback enabling me to improve daily … strong leadership skills, a positive attitude, and a great work ethic … will make an amazing GI fellow and attending.

Dr. Pearlman has matched to a fellowship program in gastroenterology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Tyler Woodell

Dr. Tyler Woodell

Of Tyler Woodell, MD: Always made it a priority to have a teaching point every day … always willing to make sure all of our questions were answered and that we were engaged in patient care … went out of his way to make sure we had a good learning experience … an exceptional model physician who I would recommend to any student as a preceptor and any patient as a doctor … focused on making sure that we learned as much as possible … carved out time to talk through our assessment and plans with us … took time on rounds to talk through key issues with us …both a fantastic role model for compassionate patient care and bedside manner as well as an engaging teacher … clearly loved to teach … not only an outstanding teacher, but also very compassionate with patients.

Dr. Woodell has matched to a fellowship program in nephrology at Oregon Health & Science University.

Researchers Boost Body’s Inflammation-Reduction Mechanism to Combat Obesity-Fueled Disease

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and University College Dublin (UCD) have found that augmenting a naturally occurring molecule in the body can help protect against obesity-related diseases by reducing inflammation in the fat tissues. The study, published June 4 in the journal Cell Metabolism, focused on liver and kidney diseases, but the researchers believe it could lead to a new therapeutic approach for a variety of obesity-fueled conditions.

“This is a new way of reducing inflammation and protecting organs, using a compound that’s already produced by the body,” said co-senior author Kumar Sharma, MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Renal Translational Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Essentially, we’re boosting the body’s natural response for reducing inflammation and showing the benefit in obesity-driven diseases.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Nation’s First Angioedema Treatment Center Is at UC San Diego

US Hereditary Angioedema Association and four corporate partners endow center to treat rare hereditary swelling disease —

It is rare for an “orphan” disease (typically a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people nationwide) to have a specific center dedicated to providing treatment and research. And it is even more unusual for big pharmaceutical companies to invest in an endowment to fund this type of center. Fortunately, the US Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA), a nonprofit patient advocacy organization, along with four pharmaceutical companies—Shire Human Genetics Therapies Inc., ViroPharma Incorporated (which merged with Shire), Dyax Corp. and CSL Bering—pledged a total of $4.6 million to help make the US HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System a reality. A number of individuals, including those with the disease, also provided private support. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Dr. Bruce Zuraw is director of the US HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System and inaugural recipient of the US HAEA Endowed Chair at UC San Diego. He is professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

Dr. Marc Riedl

Dr. Marc Riedl

Marc Riedl, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine, is clinical director of the center.

 

Live Long and Measure: Quest to Create Real-World Tricorder

XPRIZE teams will test Star Trek-inspired medical devices at UC San Diego —

Seeking to boldly go where medical science has not gone before, the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at the University of California, San Diego has been named the official testing site for the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, a global competition sponsored by the Qualcomm Foundation to develop a consumer-friendly, mobile device capable of diagnosing and interpreting 15 physiological conditions and capturing vital health metrics.

The XPRIZE competition is inspired by the tricorder medical device that debuted in the original 1966 Star Trek TV show and was frequently featured in subsequent series and movies. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Gary FiresteinGary S. Firestein, MD, is director of the CTRI and dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine at UC San Diego.

He is professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and served as division chief from 1998 until he stepped down in 2010 to focus on his growing responsibilities as dean of translational medicine and director of the CTRI for UC San Diego Health Sciences.

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.

San Diego’s 2014 Top Doctors List Includes 44 from Department of Medicine

Forty-four physicians from the Department of Medicine are among over 100 UC San Diego Health System doctors named to the 2014 San Diego Top Doctors list. See the list for UC San Diego Health System.

Not present on that list are two additional internal medicine physicians who practice at the VA San Diego Healthcare System: Charles Goldberg, MD, and Simerjot Jassal, MD. Dr. Jassal directs the Internal Medicine Residency Program.

The Top Doctors list comes from the annual “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence” survey from the San Diego County Medical Society and San Diego Magazine.

Read the UC San Diego Health System press release

Pepper and Halt: Spicy Chemical May Inhibit Gut Tumors

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that dietary capsaicin – the active ingredient in chili peppers – produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining the intestines of mice, triggering a reaction that ultimately reduces the risk of colorectal tumors.

The findings are published in the August 1, 2014 issue of The Journal of Clinical InvestigationRead the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Eyal Raz, MD

Eyal Raz, MD

Senior author of the study is Eyal Raz, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

Dr. Lars Eckmann

Lars Eckmann, MD

Department of Medicine faculty coauthors include Lars Eckmann, MD, right, professor of medicine, and Hui Dong, MD, PhD, associate professor, both in the Division of Gastroenterology; and Maripat Corr, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

Maripat Corr, MD

Maripat Corr, MD

Single Dose Reverses Autism-like Symptoms in Mice

Old drug used for sleeping sickness may point to new treatment in humans

In a further test of a novel theory that suggests autism is the consequence of abnormal cell communication, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that an almost century-old drug approved for treating sleeping sickness also restores normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neurological disorder in animals that were the human biological age equivalent of 30 years old. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Lower Vitamin D Level in Blood Linked to Higher Premature Death Rate

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that persons with lower blood levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to die prematurely as people with higher blood levels of vitamin D. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom