How DGSOM scientists are using stem cells to take on COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, UCLA researchers are rising to the occasion by channeling their specialized expertise to seek new and creative ways to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. Using years’ — or even decades’ — worth of knowledge they’ve acquired studying other diseases and biological processes, many of them have shifted their focus to the novel coronavirus, and they’re collaborating across disciplines as they work toward new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines. 

UCLA receives $6.4 million to fund cannabis research

UCLA has received seven grants totaling $6.4 million from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. The awards will fund studies on topics ranging from the toxicity of inhaled and second-hand cannabis smoke to employment conditions in California’s cannabis industry.

The grants were awarded to faculty from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and several research centers.

From runs on toilet paper to increased isolation, the pandemic has changed our way of life

Not long ago, toilet paper was the unofficial icon of the COVID-19 pandemic. Elected officials issued lockdown orders and shoppers stripped grocery shelves bare. Perpetual handwashing — and the fruitless search for hand sanitizer — quickly followed as symbols of an altered reality. Now, six months into a global crisis, the scope and shape of our ever-evolving behaviors is becoming clear.

  • July 31, 2020

Program to prevent falls among seniors shows modest benefit

A new study has found that a set of strategies designed to prevent older people from falling did not significantly reduce serious injuries from falls, but it did lead to a significant decline in the number of overall fall-related injuries participants reported. 

 

Scientists pinpoint surprising new function for histones

FINDINGS

UCLA scientists have identified a new function for histones, the spool-shaped proteins that regulate gene expression and help pack long strands of DNA into cells. The resulting matrix, called chromatin, provides the structural foundation for chromosomes.

Some types of prostate cancer may not be as aggressive as originally thought

FINDINGS

Researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed gene-expression patterns in the most aggressive prostate cancer grade group — known as Gleason grade group 5 — and found that this grade of cancer can actually be subdivided into four subtypes with distinct differences. The findings may affect how people are treated for the disease. 

UCLA clinical trial tests anti-inflammatory drug to improve outcomes in patients with COVID-19 and heart damage

A new UCLA clinical trial, COLHEART-19, is testing a currently available anti-inflammatory drug to treat heart damage associated with COVID-19.

The phase two clinical trial will assess if colchicine – a widely available anti-inflammatory drug that has long been used to treat gout – can reduce inflammation and thereby improve short-term outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who also show evidence of heart damage.

$2 million commitment from W. M. Keck Foundation creates COVID-19 research fund at UCLA

UCLA has received a $2 million commitment from the W. M. Keck Foundation to establish the UCLA W. M. Keck Foundation COVID-19 Research Fund.

The fund will support basic science research aimed at understanding the SARS-CoV2 virus and the mechanisms by which it causes disease, as well as why some people are more susceptible to life-threatening disease than others; and developing new methods to detect infection and new therapies to treat COVID-19 infection.

Public does not grasp idea of ‘futile treatment’ for critically ill patients

Physicians and patients’ family members sometimes clash when a patient is so ill that further treatment simply won’t help. Known as “futile treatment” or “potentially inappropriate treatment,” aggressive medical interventions that are highly unlikely to benefit patients sometimes proceed because families are unwilling to accept the recommendation of doctors.

Drug prevents cognitive impairment in mice after radiation treatment for brain tumors

FINDINGS

A study by researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has identified a possible new drug that could help prevent cognitive decline in people who undergo radiation therapy for brain tumors. The researchers found when the drug was given to mice 24 hours after the animals were exposed to a dose of radiation, it completely prevented cognitive decline from occurring, and that it did not reduce the efficacy of the radiation treatment.

How our brains create breathing rhythm is unique to every breath

Breathing propels everything we do, so its rhythm must be carefully organized by our brain cells, right?

Wrong.

Every breath we take arises from a disorderly group of neurons — each one like a soloist belting out its song before it unites with other neurons to harmonize on a fresh breath.

That’s the gist of a UCLA study published March 3 in the online edition of Neuron.

UCLA establishes endowed chair in Alzheimer’s research with $1 million from French Foundation

A $1 million gift from the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation will enable UCLA to establish an eponymous endowed chair in the neurology department at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The new position will be held by a faculty member pursuing new insights into Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal of improving treatment for the degenerative brain disorder. Alzheimer’s affects about 5.8 million Americans.

A way to look younger is right under your nose, UCLA-led study finds

From face-lifts to facials and fillers, there’s no shortage of ways to reduce the inevitable signs of aging. But there’s one cosmetic procedure that most people don’t think about as a tool that can make women look years younger.

Rhinoplasty, or cosmetic nose surgery, may make a woman look up to three years younger, according to a new study led by researchers at UCLA that used a type of artificial intelligence known as machine learning.

In memoriam: William Cunningham, 60, professor who worked to end health disparities

Dr. William “Billy” Cunningham, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and health policy and management at the Fielding School of Public Health, died Jan. 2 in Los Angeles at the age of 60.

A UCLA faculty member for 27 years, Cunningham was known for his rigorous approach to research and his passion for knowledge. He was focused on addressing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities and implementing solutions, including efforts to recruit and mentor underrepresented minority trainees to UCLA’s educational programs.