Volume IV, Issue 9: June 2012


UCI-created stem cell treatment passes safety phase of clinical trial

Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings pose with computer image of stem cells
Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings developed a stem cell therapy that's now the first in the world to be tested in human clinical trials.

Doctors with the Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich have reported that a stem cell treatment developed by UCI's Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings, the campus's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and StemCells Inc. has passed the first planned interim safety review of the Phase I/II spinal cord injury clinical trial, which indicates that the surgery, immunosuppression and cell transplants have been well tolerated. The StemCells Inc.-sponsored trial is the only ongoing clinical study of neural stem cell transplantation in spinal cord injury. Enrollment is now open to patients in Europe, the U.S. and Canada with "incomplete" spinal cord injury.

Stem cell trial »
'Science, stem cells and serendipity' »

Feeling stressed? Stay away from your work inbox

Photo of Gloria Mark, Stephen Voida posing with laptop computer
Informatics professor Gloria Mark, right, and scientist Stephen Voida found cutting off email reduced stress.

Being cut off from work email significantly reduces stress and allows employees to focus far better, according to a new study by UCI and U.S. Army researchers. Heart rate monitors were attached to computer users in a suburban office setting, while software sensors detected how often they switched windows. People who read email changed screens twice as often and were in a steady "high alert" state, with more constant heart rates. Those removed from email for five days experienced more natural, variable heart rates. "We found that when you remove email from workers' lives, they multitask less and experience less stress," said UCI informatics professor Gloria Mark, study co-author.

Email 'vacations' decrease stress»

UCI tops the list of young universities

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UCI ranks first in the U.S. and fourth in the world among the 100 best universities less than 50 years old, according to an analysis by Times Higher Education. Founded in 1965, UCI also is the youngest university to gain membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities. UCI and UC Santa Cruz — coming in seventh globally — are the only American universities to make the top 10.

UCI ranks No. 1 »

Study finds disparities in ovarian cancer care

Photo of Dr. Robert Bristow in lab, wearing scrubs
Dr. Robert Bristow says poor and African American women have diminished chances of surviving ovarian cancer.

Poor women and African Americans with ovarian cancer are less likely to receive the highest standards of care, leading to worse outcomes than among white and affluent patients, according to a study of 50,000 women presented by Dr. Robert Bristow at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology's annual meeting in March. "Not all women are benefiting equally from improvements in ovarian cancer care," said Bristow, the Philip J. DiSaia Chair in Gynecologic Oncology and director of UCI's Division of Gynecologic Oncology. "The reasons behind these disparities are not entirely clear, which is why we need additional research."
Ovarian cancer study »

Stem cell researcher to receive $4.8 million

Photo of Thomas Lane
Thomas Lane is a Chancellor's Fellow and professor of molecular biology & biochemistry.

Thomas Lane of UCI's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center will receive $4.8 million to create a new line of neural stem cells that can be used to treat multiple sclerosis. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded the grant in May, bringing total CIRM funding for UCI to $76.65 million. MS is a disease of the central nervous system caused by inflammation and loss of myelin, a fatty tissue that insulates and protects nerve cells. Lane — who also directs UCI's Multiple Sclerosis Research Center — will target a stem cell treatment that will not only halt ongoing myelin loss but also encourage the growth of new myelin that can mend damaged nerves. "Our preliminary data are very promising and suggest that this goal is possible," Lane said.

Stem cell grant »