Predictive Proteins: Elevated Levels Trigger Metastatic Progression of Cancer Cells

New biomarker may offer more precise and accurate prognoses of disease —

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, with colleagues in Spain and Germany, have unraveled how elevated levels of particular proteins in cancer cells trigger hyperactivity in other proteins, fueling the growth and spread of a variety of cancers. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Pradipta GhoshDr. Pradipta Ghosh is senior author of the study report, which appears in the February 26 online publication of Scientific Reports.

Pradipta Ghosh, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Read Study Report (Full Text; Open Access)

Novel Approach Blocks Amyloid Production in Alzheimer’s Mouse Model

Promises potential early therapeutic intervention —

Offering a potential early intervention for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Cenna Biosciences, Inc. have identified compounds that block the production of beta amyloid peptides in mice. The study is reported April 29 in PLOS ONE.

If the results ultimately translate to human treatment, the most promising compound – a peptide dubbed P8 – could be administered to individuals at high risk of developing the disease, long before the tell-tale signs of dementia occur and perhaps with few side effects, due to the compound’s highly specific mode of action. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Golgi Trafficking Controlled by G-Proteins

A family of proteins called G proteins are a recognized component of the communication system the human body uses to sense hormones and other chemicals in the bloodstream and to send messages to cells. In work that further illuminates how cells work, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a new role for G proteins that may have relevance to halting solid tumor cancer metastasis.

The study is reported online April 9 in Developmental Cell.

“Our work provides the first direct evidence that G proteins are signaling on membranes inside cells, not just at the cell surface as has been widely believed for several decades,” said Pradipta Ghosh, MD, associate professor and senior author. “This is significant because the G-protein pathway is a target of at least 30 percent of all current drugs on the market.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Pradipta Ghosh, MDDr. Pradipta Ghosh, is associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Visit the Ghosh Laboratory website

See Full Text of Article in Developmental Cell (UC San Diego only)

Researchers Discover Protein’s Pivotal Role in Heart Failure

Better understanding of molecular mechanism could lead to new drug targets —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a key piece in the complex molecular puzzle underlying heart failure – a serious and sometimes life-threatening disorder affecting more than 5 million Americans.

In a study published in the March 5 online issue of Cell Reports, Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, and colleagues explored the heart’s progression from initial weakening to heart failure, and found that a protein, known as RBFox2, plays a critical role in this process. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Ju Chen, PhD

Ju Chen, PhD

A number of Division of Cardiovascular Medicine researchers and affiliates are coauthors, including Kunfu Ouyang, Indroneal Banerjee, PhD; Caimei Zhang, Biyi Chen, Ju Chen, PhD; and Long-Sheng Song.

Dr. Chen is Professor of Medicine, American Heart Association Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research and Director of Basic Cardiac Research at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Senior author Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, is professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and investigator in the Institute of Genomic Medicine at UC San Diego.

See Full Text of Article (open access)

Clinical Trial Evaluates Engineered Smallpox Vaccine as Potential Liver Cancer Killer

As part of a multicenter clinical trial, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine are evaluating Pexa-Vec (JX-594) to slow the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or liver cancer. Pexa-Vec is a genetically engineered virus that is used in the smallpox vaccine.. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Tony ReidPhysician-scientist Tony Reid, MD, PhD, is principal investigator of this clinical trial of Pexa-Vec (JX-594) at UC San Diego, which is one of 42 sites participating in the study.

Reid is professor of medicine and medical oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Unit of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center. He conducts research in the center’s Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program.

For more information about the Pexa-Vec (known as TRAVERSE) clinical trial, call 858-822-5354 or visit http://traversetrial.com.

Dr. Webster Cavenee Named a Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy

Dr. Webster Cavenee Webster K. Cavenee, PhD, distinguished professor of medicine and director of the UC San Diego branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, is one of five UCSD cancer researchers who have been named inaugural fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy.

Election to the Academy recognizes researchers who have made exceptional contributions to cancer and/or cancer-related biomedical science. It is the highest honor given by the AACR.

Dr. Cavenee and the other honorees will be inducted into the Academy on April 5, the eve of the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 in Washington, DC.

More Information:

Drug Targets Hard-to-Reach Leukemia Stem Cells Responsible for Relapses

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that hard-to-reach, drug-resistant leukemia stem cells (LSCs) that overexpress multiple pro-survival protein forms are sensitive – and thus vulnerable – to a novel cancer stem cell-targeting drug currently under development. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhDPrincipal investigator of the study 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.

Dr. Jamieson is on the steering committee for the Moores Cancer Center’s My Answer to Cancer initiative for personalized cancer therapy. She is a member of the faculty in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Citation for the report: Goff DJ, Recart AC, Sadarangani A, Chun H-J, Barrett CL, Krajewska M, Leu H, Low-Marchelli J, Ma W, Shih AY, Wei J, Zhai D, Geron I, Pu M, Bao L, Chuang R, Balaian L, Gotlib J, Minden M, Martinelli G, Rusert J, Dao K-H, Shazand K, Wentworth P, Smith KM, Jamieson CAM, Morris SR, Messer K, S.B. Goldstein LSB, Hudson TJ, Marra M, Frazer KA, Pellecchia M, Reed JC, and Jamieson CHM. (2013) A Pan-BCL2 Inhibitor Renders Bone-Marrow-Resident Human Leukemia Stem Cells Sensitive to Tyrosine Kinase Inhibition. Cell Stem Cell 10.1016/j.stem.2012.12.011, online January 17, 2013.

More about Dr. Jamieson and her work:

Enzyme Accelerates Malignant Stem Cell Cloning in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

An international team, headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has identified a key enzyme in the reprogramming process that promotes malignant stem cell cloning and the growth of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a cancer of the blood and marrow that experts say is increasing in prevalence. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhDPrincipal investigator of the study 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.

Dr. Jamieson is on the steering committee for the Moores Cancer Center’s My Answer to Cancer initiative for personalized cancer therapy. She is a member of the faculty in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Department of Medicine faculty coauthor Sheldon R. Morris, MD, MPH, an investigator at the UCSD Antiviral Research Center,is health sciences assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Citation for the report in PNAS: Jiang Q, Crews LA, Barrett CL, Chun H-J, Court AC, Isquith JM, Zipeto MA, Goff DJ, Minden M, Sadarangani A, Rusert JM, Dao K-HT, Morris SR, Goldstein LSB, Marra MA, Kelly A. Frazer KA, Jamieson C.H.M. ADAR1 promotes malignant progenitor reprogramming in chronic myeloid leukemia. PNAS 2012; published ahead of print December 28, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1213021110

Read the study report (free full text)

More about Dr. Jamieson and her work: