Welcome to the November issue of Discoveries. Here you will learn more about SBP’s scientists, their research toward advances in medicine, and the people who generously support our Institute.
November 2017
Dear colleagues and friends,

During the month of November, SBP researchers made several important discoveries in the areas of neurodegeneration, infectious disease, and liver development. Their findings may one day help patients with Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases Zika infection, and a rare liver disorder.  

We welcomed more than 100 community members to an Open House at our NCI-designated Cancer Center, which included guided tours of laboratories working to advance the frontiers of personalized cancer medicine. And SBP scientists and staff pedaled and cheered for a great cause: the 5th annual Padres Pedal the Cause cycling event, which this year raised nearly two million dollars for collaborative cancer research, distributed among four San Diego beneficiaries including SBP.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.
Pauline and Stanley Foster Presidential Chair
Biomarker may predict early Alzheimer’s disease

Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., has discovered a novel approach for detecting Alzheimer’s disease at its earliest stages. His research team found a biological marker, or biomarker, that’s associated with brain inflammation—a precursor to the formation of hallmark amyloid plaques and the development of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.   

How SORLA protects against Alzheimer’s disease

Huaxi Xu, Ph.D., identified a protective function for a brain protein genetically linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The protein, called SORLA, limits the ability of amyloid beta, the toxic protein that causes Alzheimer’s, to trigger the destruction of neurons.

Viral tricks inspire autoimmune drug design

Viruses have ways to turn off the host immune system to avoid being attacked. Carl Ware, Ph.D., is leading efforts to make a new drug to treat autoimmune disorders using the same strategies that herpes viruses use to dampen the immune response.

New clues to treat Alagille Syndrome

Duc Dong, Ph.D., has shed new light on how liver ducts are formed. The research, performed in zebrafish, is especially meaningful for patients with Alagille syndrome, who have fewer than the normal number of liver ducts, causing jaundice, liver disease and liver failure.

Will an anti-malaria drug work for Zika virus?

Although the Zika virus may seem like last year’s health crisis, it remains a global risk that can cause severe fetal brain defects. Findings from a new study led by Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D. suggest that the anti-malaria drug chloroquine may be a safe and effective drug to prevent and treat Zika infection.

Padres Pedal the Cause is bigger than ever at Petco Park

The fifth annual cycling event had a record number of riders raising money to find a cure for cancer. The event funds collaborative research for four world-class research institutions in San Diego, including SBP’s Cancer Center.

SBP Cancer Center Open House showcases scientists

SBP’s Cancer Center opened its doors to the community on November 9, showcasing research aimed at finding new treatments for cancer patients. The event attracted more than 140 local residents eager to learn more about our biomedical discoveries.

Maria Victoria Recouvreux receives the 2017 Eric Dudl Award

Each year a promising SBP postdoc receives the prestigious Eric Dudl Endowed Scholarship to further their career. The award honors the memory of Eric Dudl, Ph.D., a dedicated SBP postdoc who died of lung cancer in 2006. Maria Victoria Recouvreux, Ph.D., a pancreatic cancer researcher in the laboratory of Cosimo Commisso, Ph.D., is this year’s recipient. 

Remember you can help others this holiday by participating in #GivingTuesday and donating to medical research.
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