HIV Transmission Networks Mapped to Reduce Infection Rate

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have mapped the transmission network of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in San Diego. The mapping of HIV infections, which used genetic sequencing, allowed researchers to predictively model the likelihood of new HIV transmissions and identify persons at greatest risk for transmitting the virus. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

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:

Protein May Be Key to Psoriasis and Wound Care

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder in which skin cells proliferate out of control. For some hard-to-heal wounds, the problem is just the opposite: Restorative skin cells don’t grow well or fast enough. In a paper published in the June 21, 2012 issue of Immunity, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine describe a molecule that may lead to new treatments for both problems. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Richard GalloThe principal investigator of this collaborative study is Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Dermatology at UC San Diego.

The other Department of Medicine co-authors are Tissa Hata, MD, professor of medicine, Clinical Service Chief for Dermatology at the Perlman Ambulatory Care Center and Director of the UCSD Dermatology Clinical Trials Unit; Beda Mühleisen, MD; and Paul Kotol.

More information:

  • Read the article summary in Immunity.
  • Citation: Yuping Lai, Dongqing Li, Changwei Li, Beda Muehleisen, Katherine A. Radek, Hyun Jeong Park, Ziwei Jiang, Zhiheng Li, Hu Lei, Yanchun Quan, Tian Zhang, Yelin Wu, Paul Kotol, Shin Morizane, Tissa R. Hata, Keiji Iwatsuki, Ce Tang, Richard L. Gallo, The Antimicrobial Protein REG3A Regulates Keratinocyte Proliferation and Differentiation after Skin Injury, Immunity, Available online 21 June 2012, ISSN 1074-7613, 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.04.010.
  • Dr. Gallo’s laboratory website

Enzyme Offers New Therapeutic Target for Cancer Drugs

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have uncovered a new signal transduction pathway specifically devoted to the regulation of alternative RNA splicing, a process that allows a single gene to produce or code multiple types of protein variants. The discovery, published in the June 27, 2012 issue of Molecular Cell, suggests the new pathway might be a fruitful target for new cancer drugs. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

ALTDepartment of Medicine faculty co-author M. Geoffrey Rosenfeld, MD, is distinguished professor of medicine and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Read the article summary in Molecular Cell.

Article Citation:
The Akt-SRPK-SR Axis Constitutes a Major Pathway in Transducing EGF Signaling to Regulate Alternative Splicing in the Nucleus
Zhihong Zhou, Jinsong Qiu, Wen Liu, Yu Zhou, Ryan M. Plocinik, Hairi Li, Qidong Hu, Gourisanker Ghosh, Joseph A. Adams, Michael G. Rosenfeld, and Xiang-Dong Fu

Dr. Rosenfeld’s laboratory

New Drug Target Improves Memory in Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Cincinnati, and American Life Science Pharmaceuticals of San Diego have validated the protease cathepsin B (CatB) as a target for improving memory deficits and reducing the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Read the abstract of the study report in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Vivian Hook
Study co-investigator Vivian Y. H. Hook, PhD, is professor in the departments of neurosciences and pharmacology and professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension.

Related story: Potential New Drug Candidate Found for Alzheimer’s Disease, May 31, 2011

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.

Vital Protein Complex and Therapeutic Possibilities Revealed

Trio of papers describe in unprecedented detail a major molecular target for drugs

Three international teams of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California San Diego, University of Michigan and Stanford University, have published a trio of papers describing in unprecedented detail the structure and workings of -G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a large family of human proteins that are the target of one-third to one-half of modern drugs…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

DrWoods_100x100A coauthor on two of the reports is Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.
Read one of the reports in Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesAbstract  |  Full text (PDF, UCSD only).