Detecting and Attacking Cancer through Innovation

From left to right: Padres Pedal the Cause Executive Director Anne Marbarger, Dr. Catriona Jamieson, Founder Bill Koman, and Dr. Barbara Parker

 

Jamieson, Parker share new approaches to cancer prevention and treatment at the Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion at UC San Diego Health.

It can be hard to keep up with the wealth of new discoveries and research that takes place every day along the Pacific shore. Even the cliffs that launch paragliders over the ocean are inspirational for the next generation of science taking place, according to Dr. Catriona Jamieson, Deputy Director, and Director of Stem Cell Research, at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, and Koman Family Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. “We literally watch people jump off of cliffs here everyday – so why shouldn’t we?” The view from Jamieson’s lab leads her team to take bold approaches in cancer innovation.

Developing a new way to identify biomarkers that could indicate a person’s susceptibility to disease, Dr. Jamieson’s lab is being bold by asking people to spit into a tube; not an everyday request to be sure. The saliva test may help researchers catalog the atlas of Myeloproliferative neoplasms, or MPNs, that can be associated with diseases such as chronic myeloid leukemia. By sequencing the genetic data of MPNs that may be found in the saliva, from a pool of donors from different ages and health statuses, predictive tests and novel drug development may be viable in determining a patient’s health and treatment.

Keeping an eye on wellness and effectiveness is also important to Dr. Barbara Parker, Senior Deputy Director of Cancer Medicine at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. Dr. Parker is embarking on a phase I breast cancer clinical trial that will use a novel antibody developed at UC San Diego to target and eradicate cancer stem cells in up to 15 eligible patients. For the first time in its funding history, Padres Pedal the Cause will be awarding grants to clinical trials, like that of Dr. Parker’s, who is a candidate to receive one of the inaugural awards. Consideration and review of the projects is currently underway and will be announced in Fall of 2018.

Bringing stem cell research together with clinical trials is one way that San Diego is on the forefront of accelerating cancer cures. “The piece of the puzzle that was missing was working together; we are fixing that,” says Dr. Parker. Padres Pedal the Cause is thrilled to be collaborating with researchers like Dr. Jamieson and Dr. Parker to bring us closer to a world without cancer.

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