March 31, 2011
An experimental drug lessens symptoms of a rare form of childhood leukemia and offers significant insight into the cellular development of the disease, according to findings from a new UCSF study. The mouse model research could spearhead the development of new leukemia therapies and paves the way for future clinical trials in humans.
"Although this drug did not produce a cure, it alleviated the symptoms of leukemia as long as the treatment was continued and delayed the development of a more aggressive disease," said senior author Benjamin Braun, MD, PhD, a pediatric cancer specialist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "Maintaining a clinical remission for as long as we can may help patients who don't have other options, and perhaps will allow us to approach this disease as a chronic, but manageable, condition."
Study results are published in the March 30, 2011, online edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The study focused on a type of leukemia called juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, or JMML. An aggressive blood cancer usually diagnosed in patients younger than 5, JMML accounts for 1 to 2 percent of all childhood leukemia cases.
The disease develops in the bone marrow and leads to an elevated white blood cell count that interferes with bone marrow's ability to produce healthy red blood cells. The abnormal increase in white blood cells occurs when genetic changes, or mutations, arise in the genes that encode proteins in a cellular signaling network called the Ras pathway. This network, controlled by the Ras protein, is a critical regulator of cell growth and a frequent target of cancerous mutations.
Currently, JMML is curable only through bone marrow transplantation, in which healthy blood stem cells are extracted from a matched donor and intravenously transplanted into the patient. Still, nearly half of patients relapse after undergoing a transplant, and others are not candidates for transplantation because of advanced illness or the lack of a suitable donor, Braun said.
March 28, 2011
Calculations by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of California, Berkeley estimate that the cancer risk associated with one type of airport security scanners is low based on the amount of radiation these devices emit, as long as they ...
March 23, 2011
Cancer research pioneer Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, is the new president-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world's oldest and largest scientific organization focused on preventing and curing cancer.
March 22, 2011
Released jointly by UCSF and Enloe Medical Center
The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Enloe Medical Center in Chico have joined forces, forming an affiliation of cancer programs to enhance patient care and improve access to top level medical experts.
The affiliation, ...
March 18, 2011
The ongoing radiation releases from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station 140 miles from Tokyo, with the possibility of much more to come, has invited comparisons to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster a quarter century ago.
However, the amount of radiation released in Japan thus far ...
March 5, 2011
Nobel laureate J. Michael Bishop, MD, chancellor emeritus of UCSF and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the G. W. Hooper Foundation, a biomedical research unit at UCSF, will receive Research! America’s 2011 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership on March 15.
Research!America is the nation’s largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. The award honors Bishop’s decades of tireless advocacy for medical research as the future of better health and for his efforts to improve the public understanding of science.
Bishop led UCSF for 11 years, steering the health sciences university through one of its most expansive periods of growth and achievement, which included development from the ground up of a second major campus at UCSF Mission Bay, establishment of innovative research programs, and record philanthropic support.
He joined the UCSF faculty in 1968 and in 1981 assumed the additional post as Hooper director. Bishop was named UCSF chancellor in February 1998. Since 2004, he also has held the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professorship. While serving as chancellor, Bishop continued to teach medical students and run his distinguished research lab.
In 1989, Bishop was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Harold Varmus, MD, for the discovery that growth regulating genes in normal cells can malfunction and initiate the abnormal growth processes of cancer. Bishop has received numerous prestigious awards in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical Research and the 2003 National Medal of Science.