How to Reset a Diseased Cell

In proof-of-concept experiments, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine demonstrate the ability to tune medically relevant cell behaviors by manipulating a key hub in cell communication networks. The manipulation of this communication node, reported in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, makes it possible to reprogram large parts of a cell’s signaling network instead of targeting only a single receptor or cell signaling pathway. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


New Cellular Pathway Triggering Allergic Asthma Response Identified

With molecular target found comes possibility of new therapies for millions of Americans —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with collaborators in Korea and Scotland, have identified a novel signaling pathway critical to the immune response of cells associated with the initiation of allergic asthma. The discovery, they say, could point the way to new therapies that suppress the inflammatory allergic response, offering potential relief to millions of Americans with the chronic lung condition and potentially other allergic diseases.

The results are published in the January 19 online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. . … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Eyal Raz

Dr. Eyal Raz

Principal investigator of the study is Eyal Raz, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, whose research focuses on the fundamentals of innate immunity.

First author of the report is Jihyung Lee, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Raz lab.

Coauthors include David H. Broide, MB, ChB, professor of medicine and director of the division’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded T32 training program in molecular and cell biology of allergy; Paul Insel, MD, professor of pharmacology and medicine; Maripat Corr, MD, professor of medicine; project scientist Jongdae Lee, PhD; all in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; and Nicholas Webster, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of the UC San Diego Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

View article abstract

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:

Monoclonal Antibody Targets, Kills Leukemia Cells

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center have identified a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets and directly kills chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Thomas KippsThomas Kipps, MD, PhD, Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research, is principal investigator of the study, which was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kipps is professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and deputy director of research at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center.

Citation for the published study: Zhang S, Wu CCN, Fecteau J-F, Cui B, Chen L, Zhang L, Wu R, Rassenti L, Lao F, Weigand S, Kipps TJ. Targeting chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells with a humanized monoclonal antibody specific for CD44  PNAS 2013; published ahead of print March 25, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1221841110  |  Read the abstract

How Infectious Disease May Have Shaped Human Origins

Inactivation of two genes may have allowed escape from bacterial pathogens, researchers say

Roughly 100,000 years ago, human evolution reached a mysterious bottleneck: Our ancestors had been reduced to perhaps five to ten thousand individuals living in Africa. In time, “behaviorally modern” humans would emerge from this population, expanding dramatically in both number and range, and replacing all other co-existing evolutionary cousins, such as the Neanderthals. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Scarring Cells Revert to Inactive State As Liver Heals

Research with mice reveals possible strategy to reverse fibrosis in liver and other organs

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report that significant numbers of myofibroblasts – cells that produce the fibrous scarring in chronic liver injury – revert to an inactive phenotype as the liver heals. The discovery in mouse models could ultimately help lead to new human therapies for reversing fibrosis in the liver, and in other organs like the lungs and kidneys…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. David A. Brenner
Senior author of the study report is David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences, dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Among the coauthors is Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine and translational researcher in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Discovery Provides Blueprint for New Drugs That Can Inhibit Hepatitis C Virus

Finding Could Pave Way for Drugs Against Virus That Kills More In US Than HIV

Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have produced the first high resolution structure of a molecule that when attached to the genetic material of the hepatitis C virus prevents it from reproducing . …. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Laboratory test tubes
David L. Wyles, MD, is a coauthor of the study report. He is associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a researcher in the UC San Diego Antiviral Research Center.

Read the study report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Related story:
UC San Diego School of Medicine Launches Hepatitis C Clinical Trials