Welcome to the December issue of Discoveries. Here you will learn more about SBP’s scientists, their research toward advances in medicine and different ways you can support their work.
December 2017
Dear colleagues and friends,

In this issue of Discoveries, we highlight several recent scientific discoveries that point to potential therapeutic avenues for treating cancer, atherosclerosis and hypertension.

We are proud to recognize SBP faculty member Dr. Maximiliano D’Angelo, who received a prestigious Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society. 

As 2017 comes to a close, I also want to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of SBP and our mission to advance the frontiers of biomedical discovery and develop new therapeutics that improve human health.

We hope you enjoy this issue and wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.
Pauline and Stanley Foster Presidential Chair
Preclinical study demonstrates promising treatment for rare bone disease

Yu Yamaguchi, M.D., Ph.D., led a study showing that the drug palovarotene suppresses the formation of bony tumors in models of multiple hereditary exostoses. The research is a promising step toward an effective treatment for the rare genetic condition that mostly affects children.

Stopping pancreatic cancer before it starts

A study co-authored by Jorge Moscat, Ph.D., and Maria Diaz-Meco, Ph.D., looks at ways to detect and stop precursors of pancreatic cancer—called PanIN1 lesions—before they become cancer. The findings suggest small molecules that inhibit a protein called MDM2, which is involved in pancreatic cancer progression, may be effective at preventing PanIN1 lesions from turning malignant.

A key to regenerating blood vessels

Masanobu Komatsu, Ph.D., published research that sheds light on the distinct steps and signals needed to create new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. The study opens a research approach to improving blood flow in ischemic tissue, such as that found in atherosclerosis and peripheral vascular disease associated with diabetes.

New avenue to pursue treatment for secondary hypertension

About 10 percent of people with high blood pressure have secondary hypertension, a condition most commonly caused by hyperaldosteronism, in which the adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone aldosterone. Ze’ev Ronai, Ph.D., led a study that provides insights into the development of adrenal glands and the production of aldosterone, pointing to possible therapeutic targets for hyperaldosteronism.

How SHARPIN promotes cancer progression

Ze’ev Ronai, Ph.D., led an international research collaboration showing how the SHARPIN protein acts as a master switch that controls several other proteins linked to melanoma. Inhibiting SHARPIN makes certain types of tumor cells more susceptible to death, and could boost the overall effectiveness of certain anti-cancer therapies.

D’Angelo Receives American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant

Maximiliano D’Angelo, Ph.D., an assistant professor at SBP, has received a four-year, $792,000 Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society. The prestigious awards are given to researchers in the first six years of an independent research career or faculty appointment. Dr. D’Angelo will use the funds to study how alterations in cellular structures called nuclear pore complexes contribute to the malignant transformation of blood cells and cancer.

Still need to shop on Amazon? By purchasing on Amazon Smile, you can contribute to SBP this season and throughout the year. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchases to SBP. Simply go to  Amazon Smile and select Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute as your charity.
You can transform the future of human health with a gift to SBP. Your donation will enable our scientists to continue groundbreaking research to understand the biology of human health and disease and discover innovative patient treatments. Change the world this holiday season!