University of California San Francisco

NIH funds seven international centers of excellence for Malaria research

Monday, April 24, 2017

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, announced approximately $9 million in first-year funding, subject to availability, for seven malaria research centers around the world. The seven-year awards continue NIAID’s 2010 program that created the International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMRs) in regions where malaria is endemic. The awards fund three new and four existing centers that work in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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Bavarian Nordic initiates phase II PROSTVAC combo prostate cancer trial

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bavarian Nordic initiated a phase II clinical trial of its prostate cancer immunotherapy candidate, PROSTVAC (rilimogene), in combination treatment with YERVOY (ipilimumab) and/or OPDIVO (nivolumab), both of which are immune checkpoint inhibitors from Bristol-Myers Squibb, as neoadjuvant therapy in patients with localized prostate cancer.

A lead-in stage will evaluate the safety of the combination of all three drugs in 10 patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, followed by enrollment of up to 55 patients with localized prostate cancer in three cohorts, who will receive PROSTVAC in combination with either ipilimumab or nivolumab, or a combination of all three drugs prior to undergoing radical prostatectomy. The primary endpoint of the study is to evaluate and compare changes in T cell infiltration in the tumor after neoadjuvant treatment across the three different cohorts.

The principal investigator of the study is James L. Gulley, MD, Senior Investigator, Center for Cancer Research, part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the sponsor of the study.  

“There are now 11 ongoing studies of PROSTVAC across various stages of prostate cancer. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the evaluation of the immunotherapy candidate in earlier disease stages, where the cancer has not yet spread beyond the prostate. We are excited to learn more about the potential of PROSTVAC for treating this population, and to evaluate the potential synergistic effects of combining the vaccine with checkpoint inhibitors, as we believe PROSTVAC may enhance the clinical activity of these drugs,” said Paul Chaplin, president & chief executive officer of Bavarian Nordic.

This is the second trial conducted in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The first trial was initiated in October 2016, and is investigating the combination treatment of PROSTVAC and ipilimumab at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), also in a neoadjuvant setting.

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub names first cohort of engineers, scientists and technologists

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub) has announced its first cohort of 47 CZ Biohub Investigators from the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco. This group includes both highly accomplished senior professors as well as up-and-coming young faculty. Each of the CZ Biohub Investigators will receive a five-year appointment and up to $1.5 million in funding to conduct life science research in their respective areas of expertise.

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Illumina launches iHope Program for pediatric undiagnosed genetic diseases

Friday, December 2, 2016

Illumina has announced the iHope program, a philanthropic initiative aimed at identifying the genetic causes of undiagnosed rare diseases in children. With initial program partners Foundation for the Children of the CaliforniasRare Genomics Institute and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, selected patients in financial need will receive clinical whole-genome sequencing performed by the Illumina Clinical Services Laboratory. Through whole-genome sequencing—the process of determining the order of all the DNA in a person’s body—Illumina and the iHope program partners strive to end years-long diagnostic odysseys of unnecessary and inconclusive testing for these children and their families.

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NIH funds additional medical centers for precision medicine research program

Monday, October 17, 2016

The NIH has announced awards to add four regional medical center groups to the national network of healthcare provider organizations (HPOs) that will implement the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program. Combined, the new HPOs will receive initial funds of $5.5 million to begin recruitment and build infrastructure. As efforts advance, the centers may receive first-year funds up to a total of $16 million. The four HPOs join awardees announced earlier this year, to enroll interested individuals, gather participants’ health information and biospecimens and provide input on developing plans for the program.

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2016 Lasker Awards honor scientists for basic and clinical medical research

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has announced the winners of the 2016 Lasker Awards for medical science: William G. Kaelin, Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza for basic medical research;Ralf F.W. Bartenschlager, Charles M. Rice, and Michael J. Sofia for clinical research; and Bruce M. Alberts for special achievement. The 2016 Lasker Awards, which carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category, will be presented on Friday, September 23, in New York City.

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